3i selling canvas stake

3i is selling Canvas Holidays, the UK’s third largest camping tour operator, to The Vacation Rental Group, a subsidiary of Cendant Corporation. The deal is worth £27m.

3i backed current management’s buyout from Andrew Salvesen in 2002. The existing management team of George Elles, chief executive, Martin Sherring, finance director and Ian Inwood, sales and marketing director, will remain on board to drive the business forward.

“Since our initial investment in 2002, Canvas has performed well, gaining market share and extending its service offering. This transaction offers a good opportunity for us to realise,” said Keven Parker, 3i director.

The firm is also in talks to acquire a majority stake in Interflora for around £20m. An independent committee elected by the board of the mutual trade association will examine the proposal. It is positioning itself for estimated growth of 10% to 15% in the Nordic facilities management market. A few days before it announced an exit from Canvas Holidays, the firm said it has reached an agreement to acquire Swedish facilities management company Skanska Services from its parent company Skanska AB.

Skanska Services is the leading provider of integrated facilities management in the Nordic region. The company, which manages and develops services for offices, industry plants and public sector facilities, had a turnover of £150m in 2003.

Gustav Bard, managing director of 3i Nordic, recognised the company’s dominant position in its industry, as well as its proven business model and strong organisation. “Our objective is to support Skanska Services to expand its client base and continue to expand within the Nordic market,” he said.

3i has a track record in the sector across Europe. The most recent investments include Italian gruppoSTI, in which 3i acquired a 25 % stake. MIB AG Property & Facility Management, acquired from Siemens Building Technologies last year, is a leader in the Swiss market.