CBPE sells holiday park to LDC

LDC will invest £18.5m to support Away Resorts’ management team in its growth plan

CBPE Capital has agreed to offload its majority stake in UK holiday park owner and operator Away Resorts to LDC, the buyout arm of UK-based Lloyds Bank, according to statements from the firms.

CBPE and HSBC backed the company’s management to found Away Resorts in 2008 as a platform for a portfolio of caravan parks. Under CBPE’s ownership the Hemel Hempstead-based company acquired four holiday parks: Whitecliff Bay on the Isle of Wight in 2008; Tattershall Lakes in Lincolnshire in 2009; Mill Rythe catered chalet park on Hayling Island in Hampshire in 2010; and Barmouth Bay in Snowdonia National Park in 2013.

LDC said it will be investing £18.5 million (€25.8 million; $27.8 million) to “support the team in delivering their organic growth plan, capitalising on the buoyant market for ‘staycations’ in the UK and providing capital to support further high quality acquisitions to complement the current Away Resorts portfolio”.

Away Resorts intends to “significantly” invest in its parks, developing existing planning permissions and upgrading accommodation to increase capacity as well as improving central facilities such as swimming pools, restaurants, spas and water sports. 

The enterprise value of Away Resorts has not been disclosed. Both LDC and CBPE declined to comment on financial details of the transaction.

Since it was founded in 2008 the company’s management team, led by managing director Carl Castledine, has grown sales to more than £22 million (€30.7 million; $33 million) through operational improvement and investment in facilities across the parks.

CBPE backed Away Resorts using capital from its £360 million (€503 million; $540 million) CBPE Capital Fund VII, a 2004 vintage. Following the sale there will be one portfolio company left in Fund VII – UK headquartered Idis, an importer and supplier of unlicensed pharmaceutical sources from across the world.

CBPE declined to comment on the return for Fund VII generated by the sale or on the fund’s performance.

Away Resorts is not CBPE’s first holiday park platform company. In May 2001 the firm purchased 12 coastal caravan parks from Bourne Leisure in a £46 million (€64 million; $69 million) carve out and created Park Resorts. It was subsequently bought by AAC Capital – then known as ABN AMRO Capital – for £165 million (€230 million; $248 million) in 2004 and merged with GB Holiday Parks, with CBPE retaining a residual investment. The combined group was acquired by GI Partners in 2007 for £440 million (€614 million; $660 million), bringing the total return on investment for CBPE to 8.8x.

Park Resorts is currently an Electra Private Equity portfolio company.

CBPE is currently investing its eighth fund, the first since it was spun out from UK investment bank Close Brothers in December 2009. The fund closed on £405 million (€462 million; $663 million) in January 2010 after more than a year in market.

The fund recently picked up a majority stake in cross-platform retailer sofa.com, reportedly paying between £40 million (€53.8 million; $61 million) and £50 million (€67 million; $76 million) for the business.