Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking has funded an employee-backed buyout of Chorley-based Leisureplex Hotels and coach holiday group Alfa Travel in a deal that sees the business become controlled by its workforce.
As part of the transaction, 75 per cent of a new holding company Alfa Leisureplex Group has been acquired by the company’s Employee Ownership Trust for an undisclosed sum. Founder and Finance Director, Peter Sawbridge, will become a non-executive director. Current Financial Controller, Emma Russell, will assume Financial Director responsibility. Paul Sawbridge, Managing Director, will become non-executive Chairman of the new company and a trustee of the employee trust.
The business, which recorded revenue of £34.8 million in its latest financial results, was founded in 1984 and operates 21 hotels in coastal resorts across the UK, from St. Ives to Fort William, under its Leisureplex brand.
Its sister company, Alfa Travel, is one of the UK’s leading coach and tour operators specialising in coach tours and short holidays to destinations in the UK, Ireland and Western Europe. It operates 46 coaches and sells more than 100,000 holidays per annum.
Karen Sawbridge, Operations Director of Alfa Leisureplex Group, said: “The move to employee ownership is a very positive step for the business and our staff. Our business is all about giving the best possible service to our customers. We believe making our colleagues owners will further empower them to deliver the outstanding quality of service for which our hotels and holidays are already well known. This will ensure the continued development of Alfa Leisureplex Group as a successful, independent and ambitious travel and leisure company. With ongoing investment in our hotel and coach facilities, we are firmly focused on plans to grow organically throughout the UK.”
Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking’s Merseyside Mid Markets and Strategic Finance teams advised on the transaction.
John Csizmadia, Relationship Director at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “We have worked with Alfa Leisureplex Group for a number of years, and have been impressed by the experience and expertise within the management team. With impressive customer retention levels and reputation for excellent, personal service, the vision for the business is clearly shared by its staff. We look forward to supporting the business in its next and exciting stage of growth.”