Southern Cross, the care home operator, has appointed Knight Frank to sell 20 care homes to reduce its debt.

Last week it completed a sale and leaseback of nine properties with listed investor Daejan Holdings for £31.1m.

It is now looking to sell a further 20.

The proceeds from the sales will be used to partially pay down two syndicated credit facilities and a bilateral credit facility put in place earlier this year to fund additional acquisitions and developments.

Bill Colvin, chief executive of Southern Cross, said: 'Discussions are ongoing with other potential purchasers regarding a further 20 further freeholds to be divested and the proceeds from any sale will also be used to further reduce borrowings.

'Southern Cross is continuing to discuss with its banking syndicate the provision of longer term funding arrangements for the Group.'