The owner of Center Parcs is today reported to be preparing for a £2.5 billion sale or stock market flotation of the UK holiday resorts group.

Private equity giant Blackstone has drafted in investment bank Rothschild to undertake a review of strategic options for the company, which it has owned since 2006.

The move, first reported by Sky News, comes just weeks after Center Parcs reported strong demand at its newest site in Woburn Forest, Bedfordshire, which opened in July.

The Telegraph reported last weekend that the company, run by Martin Dalby since 2000, had started discussions with tourism authorities in Ireland about constructing a resort there, its first outside the UK.

Blackstone is expected to consider a range of options including a refinancing that would enable it to take out a sizeable dividend ahead of a sale or float.

However, it is unlikely anything will happen before next year, a source close to the situation said.

Profits at Center Parcs jumped by 10% to £20.6 million in the year to April, and sales rose 4% to £314.6 million.