Written by: Keith Tully
Published: 21st December 2018
Holding companies behind Four Seasons Health Care, one of the largest providers of care home services in the country, have fallen into administration after struggling to maintain financial viability in recent months.
The decision to call in administrators is being described by bosses as part of a restructuring process but there are concerns about the future for the Four Seasons business, as well as its almost 20,000 employees and roughly 17,000 residents.
Services provided to care home residents by the Four Seasons group are said to be unaffected by the entry into administration of the two holding companies behind its nationwide operations.
Enough funding is believed to have been secured for the group’s main business to continue operating and delivering care while new owners are sought for its holding companies.
“Today’s news does not change the way we operate or how our homes are run or prompt any change for residents, families, employees and indeed suppliers,” said Dr Claire Royston, the Four Seasons group’s medical director.
“It marks the latest stage in the group's restructuring process and allows us to move ahead with an orderly, independent sales process.”
There are a total of 322 residential and nursing care facilities run by Four Seasons, which means if it were to cease trading it would be the largest case of its kind within the UK’s care home sector since 2011 and the collapse of Southern Cross.
Four Seasons bosses have struggled to maintain profitability in light of cuts to local authority care fees and in the face of rising costs.
The organisation’s bosses have made no secret of the financial challenges they’ve been grappling with or of the £500 million debt pile they’ve been attempting to restructure.
The private equity firm Terra Firma Capital Partners acquired the Four Seasons group in 2012 for £825 million but has since been forced to write off a significant proportion of its investment.
Although Terra Firm still owns the business, it is reportedly controlled primarily by its principal lender, which is H/2 Capital Partners.
Expectations are that H/2 will provide sufficient funds for Four Seasons to sustain its operations until such time as its future can be properly resolved.