Suffolk/Essex: Park Holidays acquired by Caledonia Investments in £172m deal

Oaklands Holiday Park in Essex.

Oaklands Holiday Park in Essex. - Credit: Archant

A holiday parks business which operates 23 sites across southern and eastern England, including six in Suffolk and Essex, has changed hands in a deal valued at £172million.

Park Holidays, which owns 21 freehold sites and also runs two caravan parks on a leashold basis, has been purchased by stock market-listed self-managed investment trust company Caledonia Investments.

The deal has been funded through a mix of equity and bank debt, with Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Lloyds, Barclays and Santander all providing debt facilities.

Park Holidays has been run by its current management team of Jeff Sills (chief executive), Al Loch (chief financial officer) and Tony Clish (sales and marketing director) since January 2006, when they acquired the business from its founders through a management buy-in backed by funds managed by Graphite Capital. Since then, Park Holidays has grown to become the UK’s fourth largest caravan holiday park operator, generating a pre-tax profit of £2.5m for the the financial year to December 31, 2012, with gross assets of £256.5m.

Mr Stills said today: “Caledonia is acquiring a leading asset in the UK holidays’ market with excellent growth prospects. Their investment model is ideally suited to ensure we can continue to enhance and expand our parks and I look forward to a long and rewarding relationship with them.

“I would also like to thank Graphite who have been a great backer of Park Holidays and have provided the support to allow us to develop the business to where it is today,” he added.

Among Park Holiday’s centres are Felixstowe Beach and Suffolk Sands in Suffolk and Oaklands, Seawick, St Osyth Beach and Steeple Bay in Essex.

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Duncan Johnson, Caledonia’s head of unquoted investments, said: “We are delighted to be supporting Jeff Sills and his team in the next stage of Park Holiday’s development. The new capital structure will ensure Park Holidays can continue to enhance its parks around the south of England, as well as allow Jeff and his team to build the business through targeted acquisitions.”