The UK’s biggest holiday park operator is reported to be moving closer to a £1 billion-plus flotation after reporting a strong increase in bookings this year.
Parkdean Resorts, created from the £960 million merger of Park Resorts and Parkdean Holidays, said that 2016 holiday bookings were up 11%, despite strong comparative trading last year.
Chief executive John Waterworth told the Times that the group’s other revenue streams, including pitch licence fees, retail revenues and holiday home sales, had contributed to a strong start to the year.
Some commentators have suggested that terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels may be boosting “staycation” holidays, although Waterworth said he could see “no particular evidence of that”.
He said the ability to cross-sell holidays across the enlarged estate was a factor, while the £36 million spent last year on upgrading facilities was also having a positive impact.
On a pro forma basis, revenues for 2015 jumped from £370.7 million to £400.7 million, while underlying earnings increased by 15.7% to £106.6 million.
The group, which has 35,600 pitches across 72 parks, sold about 492,000 holidays last year and 5,300 holiday homes.
Waterworth said investment this year would increase to £40 million, while he continued to seek opportunities to acquire individual parks or smaller regional operators.
He refused to comment on speculation that Parkdean, which is backed by Electra Private Equity and Alchemy Partners, may be preparing to appoint advisers to look at strategic options, although industry sources say an exit is unlikely before the end of next year.
“Our focus is on completing the integration of the two businesses,” Waterworth told the newspaper.
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