Four Seasons Health Care faces being sold

Mon, 24 Nov 2014 | BUSINESS SALE

Blackstones is to offer advice on financial and strategic options for the ailing Four Seasons Health Care.

Rumours had arisen that Terra Firma, the care homes group’s private equity owner, is pondering breaking up the group as its debt mountain grows, with rising operating costs and a loss in payments from local authorities. If the plan goes ahead, it would be divided into three parts: one division focused on NHS patients, one for paying customers, and the other for brain injuries and mental health.

Terra Firma acquired Four Season for £825 million two years ago, in a deal which included the debts. Terra Firma ploughed £300 million from its own coffers into the purchase and made up the balance with loans.

At the time it pointed to Four Seasons’ “strong assets base”, with the care home operator owning 60 per cent of its facilities, reducing its rental costs. It was also optimistic about the changing demographics of Britain’s population, with ever-rising demand for more care for the elderly a certainty.

The largest care homes operator in the UK, Four Seasons’ 30,000-strong workforce cares for 20,000 patients in its 60 hospitals and 450 care homes.

In financial hardship for about a decade already, it narrowly escaped liquidation during the recession, after a leveraged buy-out by a Qatar-backed fund in 2006 proved to be an unwise move.

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Related information:
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