2nd February 2022

New owner for premium holiday parks group

The Yorkshire & North East Corporate Finance team has advised the shareholders of Argyll Holidays on its sale to international resort operator Cove Communities.

New owner for premium holiday parks group Argyll Holidays

Argyll Holidays, one of Scotland’s leading holiday brands, operates eight premium holiday parks across Argyll and Bute. Known for the natural beauty and picturesque lochside locations of its parks, Argyll Holidays has grown to become a prominent business in the Scottish tourism industry as well as a valuable contributor to the local economy.

Owned by the Campbell family who started out as sheep farmers, Argyll Holidays was established in 1967 with the development of its flagship park, Drimsynie Estate. Since then, it has grown to a substantial group of holiday parks in and around the breathtaking Loch Lomond & Trossachs region of Scotland, just an hour’s drive north of Glasgow.

Based in North America, this will be the fifth UK acquisition for Cove Communities as it expands its growing portfolio here. Cove Communities’ first UK acquisition was the 300 acre site in Selsey, Bunn Leisure Family Resort. It recently bought Medmerry Park, near Chichester which adds to its previous acquisitions of Gwel an Mor in Cornwall and Kings Park in Essex.

Cove Communities was attracted to Argyll Holidays for its unique locations and attractive tourism and lifestyle proposition in Scotland. It is intent on building on Argyll Holidays’ strong reputation and commitment to serving its owners, guests and the local community for years to come. Its dedicated training centre ‘Cove Academy’ will complement the great work of the Argyll Academy, which has been investing in the development of Argyll staff for 10+ years.

Mark Seaton, Cove UK Managing Director, said: “Argyll Holidays represents everything that Cove looks for: stunning properties, beautiful and unique locations, and an aspirational lifestyle offering. Simply put, they are the best at what they do. We are delighted to add Argyll to our portfolio and will continue the exceptional work that the Campbell family has started. Most importantly we will grow and develop the vision of Argyll under Cove, through sustainable business practices, a commitment to environmental conservation and investment in people and the local community.

Keith Campbell, Director of Argyll Holidays, said: “We as a family have put heart and soul into developing our group of parks. We’ve invested in sustainability and kept quality at the heart of all our business practices resulting in multiple awards, including the ‘Scottish Family Business of the Year’, and thousands of satisfied holiday home owners and holiday guests. Whilst we have been approached over the years by different buyers, Cove was the first company that we felt understood what we stand for and could continue what we started. Cove is the ideal custodian of Argyll Holidays, sharing as we do, the same missions and values and commitment to the preservation and investment in the destinations we own.

The Yorkshire & North East Corporate Finance team that advised Argyll Holidays and its shareholders comprised Roger Esler, Paul Herriott and Jonathan Wilkinson. Other advisers to the shareholders were Miller Beckett & Jackson (Legal), Colliers (Real Estate) and Tax Advisory Partnership. Cove Communities was advised by Fried Frank and DWF (Legal) and RSM (Financial Due Diligence).

Paul Herriott commented: “It has been a pleasure to advise this award-winning premium leisure parks group and its shareholders on this transaction with a strategic buyer that has a shared focus on exceptional customer experience and investment in the locations, infrastructure and people which deliver that.

The deal follows others for the Yorkshire & North East Corporate Finance team in the wider sector, including the sale of Elddis Caravans to Erwin Hymer Group AG & Co, the sale of Park Leisure 2000 to Midlothian Capital Partners and Ares Capital and the finance raising from Shawbrook and Frontier Development Capital for Carnaby Caravans.

Roger Esler commented: “The UK leisure parks sector is experiencing unprecedented investment and growth and this transaction reflects those positive market dynamics. The benefits of this investment extend too into the wider supplier base and we expect to see continuing M&A activity and strong valuations across these sectors over the next few years.”