UK holiday park operator Away Resorts is aiming to become a £1 billion operator following its acquisition by Bregal Freshstream for an undisclosed fee.
Private equity firm LDC, part of Lloyds Banking Group, brokered the deal announced on Thursday (23 May) and will retain a minority shareholding.
Away, founded 10 years ago by Carl Castledine, now operates six UK resorts, including Tattershall Lakes and Whitecliff Bay, and accommodates abouy 200,000 holidaymakers a year.
LDC first invested in 2015 to bolster Away’s management team and support development of its existing sites.
Further investment allowed it to acquire a further two properties, Mersea Island Holiday Park in Essex and Sandy Balls in the New Forest.
Since 2015, LDC has invested more than £45 million in existing sites to add new entertainment venues, pitches and facilities.
Revenue increased to £63 million in 2018 while employee numbers have more than doubled from 450 to 950.
Away is now planning a further £25 million investment “across the portfolio” with fresh backing from Bregal Freshstream and its other stakeholders.
“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,” said Castledine.
“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.
“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.”
Giles Marshall, director at Bregal Freshstream, added: “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.”