Blackstone begins £1bn refinancing of Center Parcs to fund expansion
Blackstone has begun a £1bn refinancing of Center Parcs, the indoor holiday village business, in order to fund the opening of a fifth UK resort.
The move ends speculation that the US private finance group was going to either sell Center Parcs’ property to M&G or launch an IPO as a real estate investment trust.
According to the Sunday Telegraph, Blackstone is injecting further equity to allow it to open a new park in the UK, thought to be near Woburn, Bedfordshire. Discussions with a small syndicate of banks, thought to include the Royal Bank of Scotland, are already believed to be underway.
The move will be seen as a sign of firm support for Center Parcs, which Blackstone has owned for five years.
The refinancing will also involve a restructuring of the company’s existing corporate structure, including the creation of two specially created ownership vehicles.
Chief Executive Martin Dalby has overseen a transformation of the business since Blackstone bought it in 2006, delisting it from the London Stock Exchange after a successful £265m bid.
Under Blackstone’s ownership, the business has invested in the infrastructure of the holiday villages, including upgrading restaurants and leisure facilities, as well as refurbishing the fabric of the lodges in which guests stay.