ABN AMRO acquires holiday parks

RBS Equity Finance has sold the third largest UK caravan operator to ABN AMRO Capital in a £105m management buyout.

The UK division of ABN AMRO Capital has acquired caravan park operator GB Holiday Parks from the Royal Bank of Scotland Equity Finance business (RBSEF) in a transaction valued at £105 million (€150 million; $194 million).

ABN AMRO Capital is investing approximately £35 million for a 75 percent equity stake in the business, with incumbent management, led by chief executive Phillip Mason, holding the remaining 25 percent stake. Debt financing was provided by the RBS Leveraged Finance team.

With 19 sites, Winchester-headquartered GB Holiday Parks is the UK’s third largest park operator. The company was formed in March 2001 when RBSEF completed the £40 million MBO of Leisure GB from leisure conglomerate Queensborough Holdings.

London-based directors of ABN AMRO Capital Dominic Collier and Jonathan Bourn will join the board of GB Holiday Parks following the acquisition. In the year to end January 2005, the company is forecasting earnings before income tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of approximately £11 million.

The largest caravan park operator in the UK is Bourne Leisure, which was originally backed by private equity firms Candover and Legal & General Ventures before they sold their combined 28 percent stake back to the company for an undisclosed sum in February of this year. The deal delivered a reported return on equity of more than two times for the private equity houses.

The transaction is ABN AMRO Capital’s fourth UK acquisition of the year, following the buyouts of Celotex (£29 million), Ethel Austin (£122.5 million) and Dennis Eagle (£61 million).

Across Europe, the private equity business of ABN AMRO has completed 11 buyouts with an aggregate value of over €2.3 billion and achieved ten exits delivering proceeds of approximately €450 million since the start of 2004.