Center Parcs broadens search criteria for south of England site

27 July 2023 by
Center Parcs broadens search criteria for south of England site

Center Parcs has said it continues to search for a suitable site for a holiday village in the south-east of England despite previous plans being scrapped.

The company, which is up for sale for around £4b, dropped a bid to build a 900-lodge site near Crawley in West Sussex in February after environmental surveys found it was "not a suitable location" for a resort.

In an update to investors, Center Parcs said it had broadened its search criteria and the hunt for a location was "very well progressed".

Its holiday parks reported a record year of trading, with revenue up 18% over the 12 months to 20 April 2023.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 12% to £275m, while occupancy was 97%, in line with pre-pandemic levels.

Center Parcs was founded in 1968 in the Netherlands and runs five UK sites: Whinfell Forest in the Lake District, Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, Longleat Forest in Wiltshire, Elveden Forest in Suffolk, and Woburn Forest in Bedfordshire. It also has a resort near Ballymahon in Ireland.

A sale process for the company was formally launched in May. Canadian private equity group Brookfield Property Partners is looking offload the business for almost double the £2.4b it paid for it eight years ago.

The Times reported earlier this month that several parties, including private equity firm Blackstone – which sold the group to Brookfield – had dropped out of the sale process.

It said KSL Capital Partners, the private equity firm which bought the parent company of the Pig hotels group last year, remained in the running.

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