Derbyshire-based Forest Holidays has opened its eighth holiday accommodation site, and first since it was backed by LDC in 2012.
The development has been facilitated by a return investment from LDC, and now means that Forest Holidays has 427 cabins.
Back in September 2012, the management team of Forest Holidays led a buy-out of the business with help from LDC, through a deal led by chief executive Gary Fletcher.
The undisclosed equity investment was closed so that the holiday business could accelerate its cabin build plans. The Camping and Caravanning Club exited its interest as part of the deal, while The Forestry Commission retained a ‘significant stake’.
The first new opening since LDC became involved as an equity backer is in Hampshire and has 60 new woodland cabins on a 270-hectare site.
Fletcher says that while Forest Holiday’s relationship with LDC is still in its early stages, the private equity firm’s investment has brought ‘considerable strategic input’ and financial backing to the business.
He adds, ‘A key part of our strategy to accelerate the pace of organic growth is to roll out an ambitious expansion programme over the next few years.
‘This will result in a considerable uplift in cabin numbers and UK forest sites for our business, with our brand new site in Blackwood Forest in Hampshire leading the way.’
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Mid-market private equity firm LDC has had a particularly busy start to June, with three transitions closed during the first week of the month.
Its last two deals saw managing director Paul Mason and finance director Scott Bushby lead a management buy-out of subsea oil and gas-focused engineering company Rimor and a £43 million exit of Trustmarque to Dunedin.
LDC investment director Andy Grove comments, ‘The new site roll-out in Hampshire brings many strategic and operational benefits to the business, and represents an exciting growth opportunity for Forest Holidays as they look to build a presence in this key region, with close proximity to London.’