Administrators have begun the sale of Four Seasons’ 42 care homes in Northern Ireland.
Four Seasons confirmed that Alvarez & Marshal has launched the sale process of the Northern Ireland portfolio with the process believed to be at a very early stage.
The administrators were appointed to run the care home operator in April 2019 to ring fence its £500m plus debt and launch the sale of its operational business.
The transfer of 102 leasehold care homes to rival operators was announced in December 2019 and March 2020, respectively, with the restructuring of the portfolio including the unification of the company’s Four Seasons and brighterkind operations.
However, a deal to sell 185 freehold properties to leading creditor H/2 Capital collapsed in October 2019.
Four Seasons employs 2,200 people in Northern Ireland and operates 184 care homes in the UK with the vast majority of its leasehold estate having been transferred to other providers.
Commenting on the sale of its Norther Ireland operations, a spokesperson said: “Our utmost priority remains ensuring the safety, quality of life and continuity of care for all of our residents.”
Alan Perry, of the GMB union which represents Four Seasons’ workers, said the Northern Ireland announcement had come as a shock and would impact hundreds of vulnerable elderly people and their families.
“We know there is a need for some investment in the company and we have serious worries for staff and residents, as it is possible that some homes are at risk of permanent closure,” Alan said.
“The whole question of care homes being in private hands, rather than part of the NHS, needs to be looked at.
“After the stresses of battling coronavirus for the last nine months, staff and residents need reassurances that services and jobs will be maintained.”