By Marcus Leach

Southern Cross Group is set to cease as a provider of care homes after landlords owning all 752 care homes said they want to leave the group.

"It is currently envisaged that the existing group will cease to be an operator of homes," said a statement on the process.

Trading in the company's shares has ceased, although all landlords said they were committed to providing continuity of care to its 31,000 residents.

It was initially hoped that the company would be downgraded in size, but now all landlords have said they want out.

"We regret the loss of value which shareholders have experienced," Southern Cross chairman Christopher Fisher said.

It is expected that around 250 homes will be transferred immediately to other operators.

"We anticipate that the period of uncertainty which we have been experiencing will now draw to a close," Mr Fisher added.

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