Award-winning owner / operator Crown Golf has put eight of its golf clubs on the market, following a strategic approach to focus on its member and resort businesses.
Seven of the eight clubs for sale are from the company’s ‘Pay and Play’ estate. The addition of one of Surrey’s premium proprietary members’ clubs, Pyrford, by reason of its shared course maintenance facilities, adds unique interest to the portfolio.
The properties for sale are mainly located in the London area. Total roundage at the eight clubs was 440,000 in 2009, with a combined turnover of £9.6m delivering a profit of £2.4m EBITDA.
“This sale represents an exceptional business opportunity” said joint agent Ben Allen from Humberts Leisure.
“The Bennelong Group, owners of Crown Golf, remains committed to owning and operating a significant golf business in the UK for many years to come,” said Crown Golf Chief Executive Officer, Stephen Lewis. “Crown Golf plans to continue to lead the golf industry with the quality of our customer-focused initiatives.”
The clubs are being offered to the market as a portfolio of prime, well-located golf businesses with strong historical trading records.
All enjoy excellent local reputations for having well-conditioned golf courses which stay open all year round. Each of the properties have good food and beverage, clubhouse and retail facilities, encouraging high levels of secondary spend, and some have developed strong conference and banqueting revenues. The majority have floodlit driving ranges, with several having nationally-recognised golf academy facilities.
The golf clubs for sale are:
Humberts Leisure and DTZ have jointly been appointed as agents and will market the portfolio both in the UK and internationally.
“This sale represents a unique opportunity to acquire a portfolio of prime golf businesses in the UK’s most prosperous region,” said DTZ’s Richard Candey.
The seven properties near London are all close to the M25 motorway, near to areas of high population density where demand for quality golf facilities is high. The eighth property, Paultons, is in a stunning location bordering the New Forest National Park, close to Southampton, which is one of the south coast’s largest cities.
“A portfolio of clubs clustered around London provides a number of key operational benefits,” said Lewis. “The new owner will inherit a large database of local golfers, which offers many opportunities for growth and commercial development; the ability to offer London-based customers a variety of golfing experiences within the same group; the ability to promote group-wide offers within a relatively small geographic area; and of course the economy of scale, including management across all business aspects.
“There is a strong mixture of freehold and long leasehold properties in the portfolio, so it has a strong asset backing which is an attractive aspect.
“This portfolio of golf properties represents a considerable land-holding in well-positioned, mostly urban locations, and provides the purchaser with various opportunities for substantial future gain, subject to planning considerations. There are many exciting opportunities for further development, such as an additional 9-hole course at Paultons, or new clubhouse facilities at Orpington.”
Crown Golf acquired the former American Golf group of clubs in December 2004, adding three further clubs in the following three years. After a major investment programme at its flagship property St Mellion International Resort, the group as a whole will continue to experience significant growth in profitability in 2010.
“Although we have been, and after this sale will still remain the largest golf club owner / operator in the UK, our long term objective has always to be the best at what we do, rather than the biggest” explained Lewis. “Delivering shareholder value is key, and we believe a new focus on our remaining group of predominately membership and resort clubs will better enable us to do this.
“We continue to run all of our clubs in the normal way – it is very much business as usual. The next phase for Crown Golf will be to strive ever harder to deliver operational excellence across the remaining portfolio, whilst exploiting property and other growth opportunities.”
Humberts Leisure: Ben Allen, +44 (0)1962 835960 / firstname.lastname@example.org
DTZ: Richard Candey, +44 (0)20 3296 3000 / email@example.com
Crown Golf www.crown-golf.co.uk