Troubled Southern Cross care firm to close

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AILING care home operator Southern Cross today confirmed it is to close after the landlords of its properties abandoned the company.

The group, which owns care homes in Sunderland and Durham, has been locked in negotiations over a restructuring of the group’s property arrangements.

But following the landlords’ decision, it is now working on a plan to transfer homes to new landlords and their operators.

The firm is responsible for looking after 31,000 elderly residents in the UK, including 1,750 and 106 care homes in the North East.

Company bosses said that to ensure continuity of care to residents, all payments to trade creditors are to be maintained and all home-based staff transferred on their current terms.

It is expected the existing group will cease to be an operator of homes at the end of the restructuring period.

Shares have been suspended with immediate effect.

Some landlords, who are also operators of care homes, have indicated they intend to take over the running or have found new operators for 250 out of the 752 homes and will start to transfer operations shortly.

Landlords of the remaining homes are said to be finalising their plans.

Chief executive Jamie Buchan said: “My objective, and that of my team, is to continue to provide excellent care to every resident.”