LDC backs SBO of Away Resorts

LDC has announced that it has entered into an agreement to support the secondary buyout of leading holiday park owner and operator Away Resorts from CBPE Capital for an undisclosed price. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval.

Away Resorts is a unique, British, leading operator of holiday parks. The parks are located at four sites - Whitecliff Bay (Isle of Wight), Mill Rythe (Hampshire), Tattershall Lakes (Lincolnshire) and Barmouth Bay (Snowdonia National Park), and all provide a range of high quality accommodation choices from luxury holiday lodges and cottages with private hot tubs to camping facilities.

In addition to the stunning park locations, the activities offered by Away Resorts are the cornerstone of its business, allowing guests to take part in ‘Meet the Dinosaur’ days, butterfly farming, ‘Rock the Bay’ and ‘Rock the Lakes’ festivals, cream pie fights, outdoor cinema events and evening shows choreographed by renowned West End directors.

The business was founded in 2008 by Managing Director Carl Castledine, along with Neill Ryder (Finance Director) and Greg Lashley (Operations Director). Based in Hemel Hempstead, the business has successfully grown sales to more than £22million, positioning the business with a solid foundation for growth.

LDC will invest £18.5million 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. The business will significantly invest in its parks, creating additional capacity by developing existing planning permissions and upgrading accommodation, as well as continuing to improve its central facilities, such as swimming pools, gyms, spas, bars and restaurants and water sports.

The deal was led by LDC Investment Directors Richard Whitwell and Ben Snow, who will join the Away Resorts board. Gary Fletcher also joins the business as Non-Executive Chairman, alongside Mike Smith as Non-Executive director.

Martin Draper, Chief Executive at LDC, said: “We are delighted to have successfully completed the deal to support Carl and the team in their next phase of growth, building on Away Resort’s success to date. We are investing in a unique and well-operated business and a strong management team that has the capabilities to deliver growth through organic expansion and further market consolidation, in what is an attractive and fragmented sector.”

Carl Castledine, Managing Director at Away Resorts, said: “We are proud to have created one of the standout holiday park operators serving the UK domestic market. We understand changing consumer trends, and by introducing contemporary glamping facilities and unique local festivals, we stand out from the traditional British holiday experience. LDC has an excellent track record supporting management teams and strong credentials in the leisure sector, and with its financial, operational and strategic support we believe they can make a difference in bringing Away Resorts into a new era.”

LDC was supported by regionally based advisors Freeths and PwC. Clearwater International and Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co advised CBPE and Squire Patton Boggs advised Away Resorts on the deal. The transaction is being supported by debt facilities from the Acquisition Finance team at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

LDC has considerable investment expertise in the leisure sector, having also invested in rural holiday accommodation specialist Forest Holidays, travel software Group ATCORE (formerly Anite) and travel and hotel bookings Management firm, CTI.

Notes to Editors

  1. LDC is the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.  
  2. LDC backs ambitious management teams from UK-based medium sized companies seeking up to £100m of investment to fund management buyouts or development capital transactions.
  3. LDC invests in a broad range of sectors and has particular experience in Healthcare, Industrials, Retail & Consumer, TMT, Travel & Leisure, Support Services, Construction & Property and Financial Services.
  4. LDC has a UK regional network with locations in Aberdeen, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Newcastle, London, Manchester, Nottingham and Reading.