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Merger creates the UK’s largest holiday park operator

South Lakeland Parks, which owns and operates nine holiday parks around Morecambe Bay and the Lake District, has been bought up by the private equity firm Electra Partners to create the UK’s largest holiday park operator. With the merger Electra will own 48 parks throughout England, Scotland and Wales.

The acquisition was announced late last month and reported to be a £47m deal, with £22m in equity coming from Electra’s listed trust and the rest in acquisition debt from Investec, its deal partner. Electra’s portfolio company Park Resorts, also a partner in the deal, will be under contract to manage the South Lakeland properties. CEO David Boden said the Lakeland parks add ‘a new dimension’ to their portfolio and expects there will be additions and improvements to the parks.

According to Real Deals (realdeals.eu.com), back in 2007 when White Ocean Leisure bought South Lakeland Parks, the vendor paid £125m to the then owner, LVG Capital. LVG had paid about half that eighteen months previously when they purchased it as South Lakeland Caravans and rebranded it as South Lakeland Parks.

Chief Investment Partner for Electra Partners Alex Fortescue remarked that the acquisition is another step in the company’s investment in holiday parks. The nine Lake District and Morcambe Bay parks are all high quality properties, two of them bordering on Lake Windermere, all in one of the most appealing holiday getaway destinations in the UK.

Fortescue also noted that the holiday park industry is ‘both fragmented and resilient’, and the consolidation with South Lakeland is one they have been considering for some time. He says the merger supports their overall investment strategy and works with current market conditions.

Electra Partners has made a lot of moves in recent months; in 2013 they have reported five investments and two realisations. In July Electra sold Allflex, the animal identification company, for $1.35bn and then made an $85m reinvestment in the company. Electra now holds a 15% stake in Allflex, which is a strong and steadily growing business.

 

 

 

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