It’s been a slow bleed that predictably has turned into a terminal one. The American model of care for profit encourages companies to borrow money to fund the acquisition of care provision ‘assets’ that the buyer hopes will rise in value. It’s a risky prospect, especially in the UK where the doctrinaire policies of the neocon government, disguised as economics, are not in tune with providing state funded health care for those they deem unworthy, by not having provided for their own care through purchasing costly insurance policies.
6 November 2015, independent.co.uk:
‘The UK’s largest provider of care homes is preparing to sell scores of properties and slash its budget by millions to fend off an attack from a US vulture fund hoping to cash in on the UK elderly-care crisis. Four Seasons Health Care, which cares for thousands of residents, is facing a £500m-plus credit crunch after government spending cuts and financial engineering by City investors left it struggling to pay lenders.
The little-known H/2 Capital Partners has been buying up the group’s debt in the hope that the current owners, Terra Firma, will cede control of the homes after finances were squeezed by local government funding cuts.
Martin Green, the chief executive of Care England, a trade group for elderly-care provision, said the Government needed to step in to stop speculative investors targeting the troubled industry. “If the Government does not fund the sector properly, people will come into it to make money rather than deliver care,” he warned.
To stave off the hedge fund assault, Four Seasons is considering plans to make deep cuts to the money it spends refurbishing and developing care homes.The group spent about £40m last year in development costs, which exclude basic maintenance costs, but this could be scaled back if the company cannot meet cash payments to lenders. It is also holding a fire sale of 14 homes by the end of the year and is hoping to sell at least another 30 sites next year to boost its cash reserves.
The squeeze on funding has put Four Seasons’ owner Terra Firma in a bind as it tries to meet annual costs of about £110m a year. The buyout group, led by well-known dealmaker Guy Hands, bought Four Seasons in 2012 from Royal Bank of Scotland for £825m in a debt-fuelled takeover. Most of the takeover cash was borrowed using two loans sold on to investors – one worth £350m and the other £175m. H/2 Capital, which is led by former Lehman Brothers banker Spencer Haber, has been steadily buying the £350m portion of debt since the summer after prices plunged following a lacklustre set of results. Owning the debt puts H/2 at the front of the queue of lenders who can call the shots if Four Seasons is unable to meet its debt repayments next year. H/2 Capital declined to comment.
Rating agency S&P said on Monday the company would have just £20m of cash left to pay this by the end of this year‘.
7 Nov 2015, telegraph.co.uk:
‘The UK’s largest care home provider is considering selling scores of its properties as it plans to trim its budget. Four Seasons Health Care is believed to be evaluating around 30 sites amid attempts to shore up its defences as a US hedge fund buys up large amounts of the British company’s debt, according to reports.
H/2 Capital Partners, which manages total assets of $11bn (£7.3bn), is hoping Four Seasons will be forced to cede control of some of its homes if its financial situation deteriorates. It announced during investor calls earlier this year that 23 properties have been identified as being available for disposal during this year.
Four Seasons reported in August how nine of these had been sold, for a total of £4m, with remaining properties due to be sold during the year. The company offloaded 20 sites last year. The uncertainty facing frail elderly residents and their families has been compared to the crisis in 2011 when Southern Cross collapsed after running of out of money to pay rent on its 750 homes’.
They offload gradually, like taking off layers of clothing, until they are a stark naked emperor.
23rd November 2014, dailystar.co.uk:
‘Last week Britain’s biggest care provider appointed Blackstone Advisory Partners to evaluate its capital structure and assess its strategic options. Four Seasons, which is owned by private equity firm Terra Firma, has debts of £525million and it is understood that options under consideration include refinancing its borrowings, an injection of fresh equity and, most drastically, a debt-for-equity swap.
One source said: “All options for the business are being considered and Blackstone is advising on strategy.” The care operator, which has 500 homes, has come under intense pressure this year with latest accounts revealing that earnings nose-dived 22% to £19.9million in the third quarter.To further compound matters, ratings agency Moody’s downgraded Fours Seasons’ credit score in October and warned that the firm’s full-year earnings will fall “significantly short” of last year’s £93.9million.
Sources have suggested that if Four Seasons’ bad performance continues it could put pressure on its ability to service its debts. The company has also started closing unprofitable homes, with 16 shut or sold off this year. In its latest accounts the firm said: “The group has taken the opportunity to dispose of, or close, certain care homes that are uneconomic or do not fit with the group’s strategy.”
December 4, 2015, bloomberg.com:
‘Four Seasons Health Care Limited has reportedly appointed Christie+Co and Knight Frank to sell care homes assets worth £60 million. Four Seasons has appointed Christie+Co to sell 14 individual properties as going concerns worth up to £30 million collectively and has separately appointed Knight Frank to sell a portfolio of homes that are currently run by third party operators, also worth an estimated £30 million. These are set to be sold before the end of the year 2015, reported Property Week. H/2 Capital Partners has been buying up the group’s debt in the hope that the current owners, Terra Firma Capital Partners Limited, will cede control of the homes after finances were squeezed by local government funding cuts’.
Apr 4, 2014, Bloomberg News:
‘Here They Go Again: CDOs Manufactured From Wall Street Flotsam & Jetsam Are Back! Commercial real-estate investor H/2 Capital Partners bundled a hodge podge of its holdings — from bonds tied to skyscrapers and malls to junk-rated bank loans — into about $400 million of securities. The deal, similar to the pre-crisis transactions known as collateralized debt obligations. The investment firm is seizing on a revival of the types of transactions that fueled the property boom in 2006 and 2007, showing the lengths to which investors are going to bolster skimpy yields across credit markets’.
In other words, they package debt and use it to gamble on the future price of interest rates. Nursing homes have become nothing more than the gambling chips thrown on the roulette table of vulture capitalism.
The inevitable outcome will be a new type of austere care provision, run by local councils, when this wicked game goes finally bust.
Councils and care providers given permission not to have to comply with current legislation.
This will be sold on a ‘these are hard times’ spin to the sponge-like brains of the unthinking class.
Safeguarding and care standards will be made more ‘flexible’.
Councils will slash funding budgets and significantly lower previous funding levels.
The elderly poor will be spit-roasted, the American way.
Look at Ireland, the latest province of America. A recent blog told of ‘close friends in that country who recently related to me the exploits of their government and what comprises “care” for those with Alzheimer’s disease. They lost their mother to Alzheimer’s and had to make official complaints to hospital consultants re abuse by nursing staff … the “care” in Irish homes is an untold scandal.
The privatisation of the Irish “care” system follows the US model, as introduced in recent times by the Irish government. The idea is to force families to dump their elderly Alzheimer’s suffering patient into a home, persuading them it is the “best” thing to do. Then these “do-gooders” force the family to sign documentation allowing the government access to 70% of the value of their parent’s home, after death.
Death is, of course, imminent, due to the traumatised elderly person being surrounded by uncaring staff members who sedate them to the eyeballs, so they become zombies, left in bucket chairs, unable to have any sense of dignity, fed together like cattle, and forced to the bathroom at set times, as if they are animals.
My friends say that having witnessed and experienced at first hand the maltreatment of their parent, they now advise everybody they know to NOT grow old in that country.
Ireland plans to close down all State-run homes, to privatise all health services, and say that if elderly people don’t have enough money to take care of themselves, privately, that’s tough!
You Britons need to wake up – go the same route as the US and you destroy your country! Ireland already has done’!
The ‘final solution’ that awaits is working class families being forced to care for their poor parents, and working class parents being forced to care for their children with needs.
Back to our Victorian values future.
And why will this happen? The young of today are indoctrinated to believe everything the State does is right and proper by an education system that Stalin would have been proud of.
Older people are debt-controlled zombies of consumerism. There is more fight in an anaemic sheep.
You get what you deserve.
What you think is a feast is only a starter for the famine to come.
lenin nightingale 2015