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Verdant Leisure buys two premium parks in the North East

Palatine-backed Verdant Leisure has bought two premium leisure parks in County Durham for an undisclosed sum from Park Leisure Holiday Homes.

The acquisition of Kingfisher and Heather View holiday parks in the Wear Valley brings the boutique leisure park operator’s portfolio to six sites across southern Scotland and North East England.  
The acquisition supports the board’s growth strategy to create a regional group with significant scale and is the firm’s first purchase since Palatine Private Equity backed a secondary buyout of Verdant Leisure from RJD Partners in April this year.
Set in 23 acres on the banks of the River Wear close to the village of Frosterley, Kingfisher is a 177 pitch five-star leisure park offering a wealth of facilities, activities and nearby attractions. Also in the Wear Valley, at Stanhope, Heather View is a 21.3 acre park with 282 pitches. County Durham’s nature reserves provide for walking, fishing and outdoor pursuits, and the area’s rich local history makes it popular with holiday makers throughout the year.
Graham Hodgson, CEO of Verdant Leisure, says: "Kingfisher and Heather View are thriving, first-rate leisure parks offering outstanding customer experience in spectacular locations, and are therefore a perfect fit with our brand and values. With our financial strength and excellent trading performance we are actively looking to make further acquisitions before the end of 2016.”

Verdant Leisure was formed in September 2010 following a management buy-in of Dunham Leisure Limited, owners of Pease Bay and Thurston Manor leisure parks in South East Scotland, by an experienced team that includes Graham Hodgson as Chief Executive, Andrew Wall as Finance Director and Bev Dixon as Operations Director. Ronnie Peters has since joined the board as Sales Director.
Verdant went on to acquire Viewfield Manor Leisure Park in Ayrshire in July 2011 and Riverside Leisure Park in Northumberland in 2012.  The latest investment brings the total number of pitches of privately owned lodges and holiday homes, holiday lettings and touring facilities to over 2,500.
Ed Fazakerley, Partner at Palatine Private Equity, says: “Verdant Leisure has become a major player in the Northern regions, and has expanded further through this acquisition. We saw significant buy and build potential in the business when we decided to invest, and these acquisitions are just the first in a series as we look to build on Verdant’s portfolio of holiday parks.”
Gary Davison, Partner at Tosca Debt Capital, says: “As part of the original acquisition of Verdant Leisure Parks, Palatine invested in a high quality platform and a well-proven, experienced Management team. These acquisitions are the first implementation of the buy-and-build strategy and demonstrate the Groups commitment to finding and acquiring high quality assets.”
“Tosca Debt Capital is delighted to work alongside a regionally focused senior bank to provide continued support to a well-respected local sponsor, and to help facilitate the growth of Verdant Leisure.”
Owen Malton, Regional Head of Specialist and Acquisition Finance at Yorkshire Bank, says: “The forward-looking management team at Verdant Leisure is delivering on its growth strategy to acquire attractive holiday parks in key destinations. Yorkshire Bank is proud to continue to support Verdant Leisure, working alongside Palatine Private Equity and investors Tosca Debt Capital.”
“Yorkshire Bank is truly committed to the growth aspirations of businesses across the North of England. This new funding illustrates our pledge to partner with aspirational and acquisitive companies to take advantage of the increasing trend in market growth opportunities.”

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