Leisureplex Hotels staff in employee-backed buyout

01 September 2015
Leisureplex Hotels staff in employee-backed buyout

Chorley-based Leisureplex Hotels and coach holiday group Alfa Travel have completed an employee-backed buyout, which will see the business controlled by its workforce.

The deal, funded by Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, sees 75% of a new holding company Alfa Leisureplex Group acquired by the company's Employee Ownership Trust for an undisclosed sum.

The business, which recorded revenue of £34.8 million in its latest financial results, was founded in 1984 and operates 21 hotels in coastal resorts across the UK, from St Ives to Fort William, under its Leisureplex brand.

Founder and finance director Peter Sawbridge will become a non-executive director. Current financial controller Emma Russell will assume financial director responsibility. Managing director Paul Sawbridge will become non-executive Chairman of the new company and a trustee of the employee trust.

Its sister company, Alfa Travel, specialises in coach tours and short holidays to destinations in the UK, Ireland and Western Europe. It operates 46 coaches and sells more than 100,000 holidays per annum.

Karen Sawbridge, operations director of Alfa Leisureplex Group, said: "The move to employee ownership is a very positive step for the business and our staff. Our business is all about giving the best possible service to our customers. We believe making our colleagues owners will further empower them to deliver the outstanding quality of service for which our hotels and holidays are already well known. This will ensure the continued development of Alfa Leisureplex Group as a successful, independent and ambitious travel and leisure company. With ongoing investment in our hotel and coach facilities, we are firmly focused on plans to grow organically throughout the UK."

Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking's Merseyside Mid Markets and Strategic Finance teams advised on the transaction.

John Csizmadia, relationship director at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: "We have worked with Alfa Leisureplex Group for a number of years, and have been impressed by the experience and expertise within the management team. With impressive customer retention levels and reputation for excellent, personal service, the vision for the business is clearly shared by its staff. We look forward to supporting the business in its next and exciting stage of growth."

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