Forest holiday park chain up for £100m sale

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 | BUSINESS SALE

A company that houses a chain of holiday parks around the UK is hoping to find new owners in a deal predicted to be worth more than £100 million.

Forest Holidays, which owns luxury wood cabins which holidaymakers can rent, has been put up for sale by its owners, the Forestry Commission, in an effort to cash in on the business.

Beginning life in Scotland in the 1970s, Forest Holidays was established when the Forestry Commission built several cabins next to Loch Lubnaig near Stirling. It has grown from there to operate just shy of 600 cabins today, located in 9 sites across Britain, including pitches in the Forest of Dean and Sherwood Forest.

Though the Commission owns just under a fifth of the company’s shares, most of the potential £100 million windfall from the sale would make its way to LDC, the buyout arm of Lloyds Bank, which owns half the company after a backing a management buy-out in 2012.

The Forestry Commission does earn a fee for every cabin located on its woodland, however, and keeping this agreement alive is expected to be part of any deal to buy Forest Holidays.

Though nothing is yet to be agreed, The Times reports that Phoenix Equity Partners is understood to be leading a pack of bidders. Other potential buyers include buyout firm Caledonia Investments and Center Parcs, which already operates family holiday resorts in forests in the UK.

Forest Holiday’s pre-tax profits hit £6.9 million in the 12 months leading up to March 2017 – up from £6.7 million in 2016 – after revenues for the firm climbed from £32.5 million to £36.5 million.


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