Longleat Forest helps Center Parcs return to the black

Monday, 5th August 2013

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The holiday park operator had recorded a £47.9m pre-tax loss in 2011/12 as it restructured its debt to raise money for a fifth site in Bedfordshire’s Woburn Forest.

Operating profit in the 12 months to 25 April 2013 stood at £111.1m, up from £97.7m. Finance expenses of £92.8m, including £83.7m of interest on borrowings, brought pre-tax profit down to £18.6m, a substantial improvement on the loss of £47.9m in the previous year.

Center Parcs restructured its debt in 2012 as part of its fundraising for the new leisure village in Woburn Forest. It incurred exceptional costs of £66.1m in relation to a winding up of an interest rate swap. Other finance expenses of £82.2m pushed the company into the red.

The pre-tax profit of £18.6m was above the £15m generated in 2010/11 - the year before it was hit with restructuring costs.

Revenue climbed by almost £12m to £303.5m at the holiday group during 2012/13. As well as its site in Wiltshire, the company also has parks in Nottinghamshire, Cumbria and Suffolk.

At Longleat Forest revenue increased from £72.9m to £75.3m. EBITDA was £39.1m – up from £37.3m in the previously year.

Each of the villages upped turnover and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) in the period, with the Sherwood Forest site bringing in earnings of £42.6m, up from £40.9m, on sales of £78.7m, up from £75.9m.

The average number of villas in the portfolio occupied in the year as a percentage against availability was 97.2 per cent – slightly higher than 97.1 per cent in 2011/12.

The fifth village in Bedfordshire is currently under construction and is expected to be open for business by spring 2014. Center Parcs is currently recruiting 1,500 staff to run the site.

Center Parcs received £250m backing from four banks and investment company Blackstone, which owns the holiday operator. Under terms of the refinancing, it is expected the company will acquire the park within three years of trading starting.

The group employs more than 5,300 staff, costing the business £64m in wages in 2012/13.

At the year end, net debt at Center Parcs stood at £963.1m, down from £976.6m at the end of the previous 12 months.

 

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