Ownership of fast-growing holiday park operator Away Resorts is changing hands with plans for further investment.
Private equity firm LDC has reached an agreement to sell the company, which runs six UK resorts, for an undisclosed sum believed to be in the region of £100 million.
Swiss private equity outfit Bregal Freshstream is taking over the business with LDC – part of Lloyds Banking Group – retaining a minority shareholding.
Away Resorts is planning £25 million of investment across the portfolio in the coming years with the backing of Bregal Freshstream and other shareholders.
The company’s resorts include Tattershall Lakes in Lincolnshire and Whitecliff Bay on the Isle of Wight and attracts almost 200,000 holidaymakers a year.
Away Resorts is the tenth investment by Bregal Freshstream and joins UK investments in handbag retailer Radley, specialist contractors Taziker Industrial and M&J Evans and retail pharmacy chain Juno Health.
LDC invested in Away Resorts in 2015 to support expansion plans and the development of its existing sites.
The business subsequently acquired Mersea Island Holiday Park in Essex later that year, followed by Sandy Balls in the New Forest in 2017, with additional backing from LDC.
More than £45 million has been spent on existing sites over the past four years, adding entertainment complexes, new pitches and facilities.
Revenue has increased to £63 million in 2018 and staff numbers have grown from 450 to 950.
Away Resorts CEO Carl Castledine, who founded the company ten years ago, said: “LDC has been the perfect partner for us over the past four years, providing not only the capital to expand but also the operational and strategic support to help us scale the business.
“They understood our vision from the start and backed the team to deliver it. We’re delighted they’re continuing to support our growth plans.
“Bringing Bregal Freshstream on board takes us on the next stage of our journey in support of our long-term vision to become a £1 billion operator with a broad portfolio of well-invested, market-leading UK holiday resorts.”
Richard Whitwell, head of Midlands at LDC, said: “We backed Carl and the team to realise a bold vision for the group back in 2015 based on significant investment in, and expansion of its portfolio. The success of the business is testament to their passion, drive and commitment and we’re proud to have played our part in enabling their success.”
He added: “With demand for British holidays increasing, Away Resorts is ideally placed to continue growing its position in the market, with a highly capable management team, a distinct proposition, a portfolio of prime sites and significant capital backing from LDC and Bregal Freshstream.”
Bregal Freshstream director Giles Marshall said: “We are delighted to be supporting the Away Resorts team on the next stage of their journey.
“Since founding the business in 2008, Away Resorts has developed into a highly regarded and innovative holiday operator, well positioned to capitalise on the strong momentum they have generated at the cutting edge of the industry.
“We are very excited to be working with Carl and the rest of the team to further accelerate the growth of the business.”
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