Southern Cross to close 200 homes

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The Independent Online

Southern Cross, the beleaguered care home operator, plans to offload up to 200 homes, seek emergency funding of £100m and change its name, as it fights to stave off collapse.

The UK's biggest provider of care homes intends to overhaul its business and financial structure, as it struggles to keep up with its annual rental bill of £250m. Its problems were laid bare in a pre-tax loss of £310.9m for the six months to 31 March.

The Prime Minister David Cameron stepped into the mess of Southern Cross last week when he vowed to "guarantee" that its 31,000 residents in 753 homes will not lose out if the firm collapses into administration.

Today, the GMB union will publish a 61-page report on the care home provider that will name "many" in the City who played a part in the "scandal". The report will look at what happened when the private equity firm Blackstone floated Southern Cross in 2006. Last week, Blackstone vehemently rejectedallegations of asset-stripping during its ownership of Southern Cross between 2004 and 2007.