Center Parcs, the holiday resort company, is up for sale by its owner, Canadian investment firm Brookfield, in a deal that could fetch between £4bn and £5bn (€5.74bn). With six locations across the UK and Ireland, the Irish resort is located in Longford Forest. This potential sale would represent one of the largest UK real estate deals so far this year. Brookfield has appointed investment bankers to handle the sale, who have been seeking out potential buyers over the past week, including other private equity companies.
Brookfield acquired Center Parcs in 2015 from asset management firm Blackstone for £2.4bn (€2.75bn). Since then, Brookfield has invested in upgrading its facilities, amenities, and building 250 new lodges. If the sale goes ahead, Brookfield could see a strong return on investment. The planned sale will also come with a reported £2bn in existing debt.
Center Parcs claims on their website that they serve two million guests per year and have a 98% occupancy rate. In the year to April 2022, Center Parcs Ireland reported revenue of €57.8m following a recovery from COVID-19 enforced lockdowns. The surge in revenues meant a pre-tax profit of €8.1m following a pre-tax loss of €18.2m the year prior. It was also the first year the company reported a profit in Ireland. The Longford resort first opened to the public in July 2019 and, as of 2022, employed over a thousand people.
In 2022, the entire Center Parcs group recorded a profit of £66m in the year to April 2022 with sales quadrupling to £503m. Brookfield declined to comment when contacted by the Irish Examiner. Brookfield says it manages $825bn (€758bn) in assets around the world.
Private equity firms have been piling money into the UK’s domestic holiday sector in recent years, amid hopes for growth as the value of the pound dropped and the impact of the cost of living crisis. The growing trend for domestic breaks was kick-started by the pandemic as travel abroad was largely restricted. Other private equity companies have already taken steps to buy into the market. In January 2021, Blackstone paid about £3bn for Bourne Leisure, which includes Haven Holidays, the caravan park operator. The same year CVC Capital Partners bought holiday park operator Away Resorts for £250m and then bought up Aria Resorts and Coppergreen Leisure to combine with it.