Southern Cross Healthcare Group Plc, the care home provider today announced its pre close trading update at the end of the Company’s financial year on 1st October 2006.

They reported that trading had remained in line with expectations. Occupancy rates during the second half of the financial year were reported to be higher than the 90.7% reported on 2nd April 2006.

Southern Cross has increased it’s occupancy in its Ashbourne business, which it acquired in November 2005.

At the end of the financial year the Company reported that it had 28,981 beds and 580 homes. This year on 15 August it announced that it had acquired 270 beds in four homes.

The goal of the company is to add 1,200 beds annually, by developing currently owned homes and acquiring new ones. An extra £100 million line of credit, in addition to the £200 million already existing has been put in place to fund the company’s strategy.

The Company should be announcing its results for the financial year on 11th December 2006.

Philip Scott, Chief Executive of Southern Cross said in a statement: The second half of the financial year is traditionally stronger and we are pleased to see increased occupancy levels during the period, both in the Southern Cross and the Ashbourne homes. The care home sector in the UK remains an attractive market in which we continue to see good opportunities to expand and add to our portfolio.