LDC has reached an agreement to sell fast-growing holiday park operator, Away Resorts, to Bregal Freshstream. LDC will retain a minority shareholding as part of the deal.
Founded 10 years ago by leisure entrepreneur Carl Castledine, Away Resorts now operates six leading resorts in prime UK destinations, including Tattershall Lakes in Lincolnshire and Whitecliff Bay on the Isle of Wight, hosting almost 200,000 holiday-makers each year.
LDC invested in Away Resorts in 2015 to support the management team’s 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. Over the past four years, the business has invested more than £45million in existing sites, adding state-of-the-art entertainment complexes, new pitches and facilities. Revenue has increased to £63million in 2018 and employee numbers have grown from 450 to 950.
Following the transaction, with the backing of Bregal Freshstream and its other shareholders, Away Resorts is planning a further £25million of investment across the portfolio in the coming years.
Away Resorts is the tenth investment by Bregal Freshstream since the launch of its maiden, €600million fund, in 2015, and joins its other UK investments in handbag retailer Radley, specialist contractors Taziker Industrial and M&J Evans and retail pharmacy chain Juno Health.
The transaction is subject to receipt of required FCA approval. The terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.
Carl Castledine, CEO of Away Resorts, 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.”
Commenting on the investment, Giles Marshall, Director at Bregal Freshstream 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.”
LDC was advised by Gowling WLG, Freeths LLP, DC Advisory, PWC and CIL.
Bregal Freshstream was advised by Deloitte Corporate Finance, Clearwater and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP.