Center Parcs owners reportedly preparing for £4bn sale after bumper profits announced

The owners of Sherwood Forest-based Center Parcs are reportedly hiring advisers to sell the firm after the pandemic’s affect on foreign travel meant the holiday giant had its most profitable half-year to date.
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Brookfield Property Partners is thought to be paving the way to sell Center Parcs UK and Ireland, according to Sky News, with accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers said to be assisting with the sale process.

It is thought, however, that Brookfield would only sell the business for a sufficiently attractive offer.

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Center Parcs currently operates six sites in the UK and Ireland, including Longleat Forest in Wiltshire, Elveden Forest in Suffolk, Whinfell Forest in Cumbria, Woburn Forest in Bedfordshire and its newest site, Longford Forest in Ireland, which opened in 2019.

Center Parcs Sherwood Forest may be up for sale later this year.Center Parcs Sherwood Forest may be up for sale later this year.
Center Parcs Sherwood Forest may be up for sale later this year.

Last year, it announced a seventh site in West Sussex was also on the cards.

The firm’s head office is based at its first UK site, which opened in 1987 in Sherwood Forest, near Edwinstowe, and remains a popular home away from home for Mansfield and Ashfield families wanting a holiday without long travel times.

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Center Parcs specialises in family activity holidays and watersports, with a range of restaurants, activities and accommodation types.

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Bans on foreign travel for much of the coronavirus pandemic meant staycations in the UK boomed in popularity, and the company’s parks reopened on April 12, 2021, to a flurry of bookings from families desperate to get away.

The company’s financial results for April to October 2021 showed record earnings, despite the firm’s decision to operate at a limited capacity.

An auction of the business, which may not happen for some months, mirrors sales activity elsewhere in the UK holiday sector, fuelled by a surge in demand for UK-based holidays during the coronavirus pandemic.

Park Holidays recently changed hands for about £950 million, after being sold to American firm Sun Communities, while Parkdean Resorts, the UK's largest operator, is also expected to trade in the coming months.

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CVC Capital Partners acquired Away Resorts last year, while Butlin's is also reportedly up for sale, with its owner Bourne Leisure, which was acquired by Blackstone less than a year ago, also set to be put up for sale some time in 2022.

Center Parcs has declined to comment.

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