NHP calls in receivers on nursing home company

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The Independent Online

NHP, the country's largest nursing home landlord, said yesterday that it had appointed receivers to 20 subsidiaries of Advantage Group, one of its tenants.

NHP, the country's largest nursing home landlord, said yesterday that it had appointed receivers to 20 subsidiaries of Advantage Group, one of its tenants.

The move, which affects almost 1,000 NHP-owned beds, will add to fears that the nursing homes sector is facing a growing funding crisis and could experience a string of corporate failures.

The Warwickshire-based Advantage Group, the ninth-largest operator, ran 78 homes around the country. A total of 26 were leased from NHP, which owns 353 homes.

Richard Ellert, NHP chief executive, said: "NHP's first duty of care is to the residents in the care homes. We are doing this by providing the receivers [PricewaterhouseCoopers] with sufficient working capital to continue trading the homes as normal, whilst the leases are assigned to new operators."

Earlier this year, Grampian Care, a privately held Scottish nursing home operator, was forced to call in the receivers. Its 1,300 beds, 800 of which were leased from NHP, were transferred to new operators over a period of two months.

Private operators of nursing homes have faced rising costs over recent years, struggling to pay the rents on their premises and meet their staffs' wage bills.

"We are working closely with the relevant health authorities and social services departments to obtain a seamless transfer of the management of the homes," Mr Ellert said, adding that he expected the process to be finalised within a month.

NHP said that it was talking with eight tenants, six of whom already had contracts with NHP, to take over the running of the 26 homes previously run by Advantage Group.

Officials from Advantage Group were not available for comment last night.

NHP shares closed unchanged yesterday at 177.5p.

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