Sky News understands that Alvarez & Marsal, which has overseen the bankrupt parent company of Four Seasons Health Care (FSHC) for almost 18 months, has started a process of selling a portfolio of 42 sites in the country.
The sale process comes amid a crisis for the UK nursing home industry, which is trying to cope with the catastrophic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The auction of Four Seasons’ activities in Northern Ireland, which is at an early stage, involves homes representing just under a quarter of the company’s remaining 184 UK sites.
Around 2,200 people work for the operation in Northern Ireland, out of a total of 12,000 in the group.
Four Seasons’ parent company collapsed in April last year, sparking fears for the future of what was then Britain’s second-largest nursing home group.
The management of the vast majority of its leasehold properties has since been transferred to other operators such as Barchester.
The future of the company has actually been uncertain since 2017, when owner Terra Firma Capital Partners missed the debt repayment deadline.
Terra Firma first invested in the company in 2012, after paying £ 825million for it.
In August, Four Seasons said admission levels had started to recover after falling more than 70% below pre-coronavirus levels.
He added that the shielding and self-isolation had pushed staff absenteeism to just under 11%, although it has since declined.
A spokesperson for Four Seasons Health Care said over the weekend, “Our top priority remains ensuring the safety, quality of life and continuity of care for all of our residents. ”
A source close to the company said significant progress has been made in restructuring Four Seasons since last year, including the unification of the operations of its retirement home business and the successful migration of its onerous portfolio of leases. .
They added that the sale of its Northern Ireland business made “strategic sense” as it operated in “a separate territory and under a different regulatory regime”.