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Sandy Balls Holiday Park

Clearwater International has advised LDC-backed UK holiday park operator Away Resorts, raising a significant debt facility to support its acquisition of Sandy Balls Holiday Village in the New Forest, forming a group with 6 sites valued in excess of £100m.

Sandy Balls is a five-star holiday village in the New Forest National Park and offers accommodation including luxury woodland lodges, static holiday homes, camping pods and safari tents, as well as fully serviced touring pitches.

The purchase of Sandy Balls is the second acquisition Away Resorts has made since mid-market private equity firm LDC backed the secondary buyout of the business in April 2015.

The deal was funded by additional capital from LDC and acquisition loans provided by Permira Debt Managers; it marks a significant step in the strategy of identifying and delivering high quality sites to complement Away Resorts’ existing portfolio and increase its share of the UK holiday market.

The Clearwater International team was led by Partners Chris Smith and Gareth Iley, with support from Director Joe Dyke and Associate Louise Hooper.

Carl Castledine, Chief Executive Officer at Away Resorts, said: "Over the last eight years, we have built up a strong brand that has really hit the right note with UK holidaymakers. The demand for affordable UK holidays, particularly short breaks, is strong, and growing, as our record bookings for 2016 have shown. 

"Thanks to our partnership with LDC, we have been able to steadily build our portfolio of parks over the past few years, as well as improving, renovating and re-energising existing parks, where needed.  We still have plans to invest in the right opportunities, and are always on the lookout for new parks to acquire and to bring into the Away Resorts family."

Richard Whitwell, Investment Director at LDC, added: “We’ve been working closely with Carl and his team over the last two years, supporting the business’ ambitious plans to grow both organically and through a targeted buy and build approach, which has already seen it successfully integrate Mersea Island into the portfolio. The business is now well placed to offer a holiday experience for all tastes and budgets across its group of parks, and we look forward to helping the business further develop the Sandy Balls proposition.”  

Chris Smith, Partner, Clearwater International commented: “Away Resorts is a well-established business led by a very strong management team. Having originally advised on the sale of Away Resorts to LDC and management, we are delighted to continue assisting the company in this transaction. With the support from LDC, Away Resorts has made an exciting acquisition of Sandy Balls - a high quality and successful holiday park with significant organic growth potential. This transaction offers the group a step change in its continued growth and acquisition strategy.”

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