UK mid-market private equity specialist Graphite Capital has sold Park Holidays UK, Britain's fourth largest operator of static caravan parks, to Caledonia Investments, a UK investment trust company, for GBP172m.
The sale brings the total value of disposals made by Graphite since October 2012 to over GBP1bn. Graphite has sold seven companies over this period realising GBP579.3m of equity proceeds from an initial cost of GBP202.3m and generating a total return of 2.9x cost.
Park Holidays UK owns 21 freehold and two leasehold caravan parks with nearly 9,000 pitches in southern England. The group sells caravans to owners and hires caravans to holiday makers. The business was founded in 1985 and was acquired by Graphite in a GBP130m buy-in/management buy-out in January 2006. Graphite introduced a strong management team led by chief executive Jeff Sills.
Graphite worked closely with the management team to strengthen the business and supported the acquisition of six new parks in the south west of England between 2006 and 2008. Since the buyout, the quality of the parks has been upgraded and the company has expanded its holiday lettings business across all its parks. During this time, turnover more than doubled to GBP84m and EBITDA increased by 72 per cent to GBP20.4m.
The sale provides Graphite with a total return of 2.3 times its investment.
Jeff Sills, Park Holidays UK's chief executive, says: "Graphite has been a great backer through both strong and difficult trading conditions and has helped us transform the business to generate market-leading performance. We look forward to taking advantage of continuing growth opportunities under the ownership of Caledonia Investments."
Graphite senior partner Mike Innes says: “We have been delighted to work with the management team at Park Holidays UK over the past seven years. The resilience which the business has shown through a period of exceptional economic turmoil reflects the operational excellence instilled by Jeff and his colleagues and the targeted investment in the parks. The quality of the parks, operational performance and brand strength place Park Holidays UK in a great position to continue its growth."