Southern Cross, the UK’s biggest private care home provider, made a loss before tax of £8.6m in the first half of the year despite seeing average fees rise 6%. Daily Telegraph

The weak first-half performance was a result of the cost of acquisitions and debt. Underlying profit was up 41% at £30.8m.

Despite the cost of acquisitions, the company said it was interested in buying rival care home provider Craegmoor, which is on the market with an estimated price of £200m.