End of the ride for Advent

Advent International has sold its three year old stake in Parques Reunidos, a Spanish leisure park operator, to UK buyouts firm Candover for a reported price of around €900m. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval.

The equity funding is to be provided by the Candover 2005 Fund, the €3.5bn vehicle that closed in November 2005. A significant minority holding is also being taken by Bourne Leisure, a UK caravan park operator that Candover exited alongside L&G Ventures in February 2004. The management team of Parques Reunidos – Richard Golding, Jose Diaz and Pedro Cortes – will continue to lead the business and is reinvesting in the deal, with Royal Bank of Scotland leading the debt and mezzanine financing.

Marek Gumienny, managing director of Candover, said: “Parques Reunidos is a unique business led by an impressive management team. The Group’s parks are well invested and among the finest in Europe. Over recent years, Richard and his team have delivered significant growth in revenues and EBITDA. This has been achieved by their proven strategy to operate well established, regional, individually branded attraction parks and identify further parks to complement the portfolio.”

Advent invested in the Madrid-headquartered business in December 2003, paying €240m in Spain’s first ever public-to-private deal. At the time it operated 14 parks in Spain. This has expanded to 22 parks in the four leisure industry segments (theme-amusement, nature and wildlife, water and cable railway) across Spain, Belgium, Norway, France and Italy, and, outside Europe, in Argentina. Revenues have more than doubled in the last three years, rising from €85m in 2003, to €193.6m at the end of 2006.

Since the entry of Advent International in Parques Reunidos, €224m has been invested to acquire new parks, and €42m for the improvement of infrastructure and facilities.