British care homes owner says to shut, transfer patients

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Southern Cross, the financially-troubled owner of 752 care homes in Britain, said on Monday that it was to close although its 31,000 residents would continue to receive care.

Southern Cross' shares were suspended after the company finally collapsed under the weight of its unpayable rent bill, though shareholders had already lost their investments after a dramatic share price collapse in recent months.

The company said in a statement on Monday that it plans to cease operating and hand its homes over to Southern Cross' landlords.

"My objective, and that of my team, is to continue to provide excellent care to every resident and to manage the programme of transition professionally," Southern Cross chief executive Jamie Buchan said in the statement.

© 2011 AFP

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