British care home operator handed life-line

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British care home operator Choices Care is to be restructured after falling into financial difficulties, adminstrators Zolfo Cooper said Friday, one month after the closure of bigger rival Southern Cross.

Zolfo Cooper said in a statement that Choices Care has fallen into administration -- the process whereby a troubled firm calls upon independent financial help to restructure the business.

Choices Care, which operates in Scotland and the north east of England, employs approximately 1,400 staff and helps around 800 people with learning difficulties.

Zolfo Cooper has already sold the supported-living division of the business to rival company Mears Care Scotland. Other parts of the business will operate as normal until buyers are found.

"The key aspect all along in this process has been to ensure that services continue to be provided to all users without interruption," said Peter Holder, a partner at Zolfo Cooper.

"We are extremely pleased therefore to have agreed a swift sale of the supported living business and wish all parties concerned well in their respective futures as they continue to provide services to users," he added in a statement.

The collapse of Choices Care comes after Britain's largest care home operator, Southern Cross, closed down last month. The group, which had 31,000 residents, was hit by rising rents.

Southern Cross handed its homes over to the company's landlords on July 11, after failing to reach a deal to restructure its rental agreements.

© 2011 AFP

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