Brookfield Puts Up £230M To Ease Centre Parcs' Woes And Buys Back £250M Of Debt
Private equity giant Brookfield has provided £230M of financial backing to support its pandemic-hit UK holiday business Centre Parcs and is buying back a further £250M of the company’s debt.
In a notice to bondholders on Monday, the servicer that manages a chunk of Centre Parcs’ debt said the Brookfield-owned company would be buying back £250M of the company’s loan notes before they are due to mature, at a slight premium to their face price.
Centre Parcs’ five UK holiday villages took heavy hits from the national lockdowns, according to a prospectus accompanying the loan buyback.
In the 36 weeks to the end of December, the period of 2020 affected by the coronavirus pandemic, Centre Parcs made an operating loss of £30M, compared to an operating profit of £139M for the same period in 2019. While costs for the period fell from £95M to £43M, revenue fell even faster, from £360M to £115M.
During the period, its villages were about 30% occupied, it said, compared to a figure in normal years of about 98%. It said it had to refund £147M to people whose bookings had to be cancelled when lockdowns shuttered its villages, but about half of the people whose bookings were affected chose to rebook rather than take a refund.
As a result of the hit to its income, Centre Parcs needed financial support from its owner, Brookfield, which bought Centre Parts from Blackstone for £2.4B in 2015 and was trying to sell it for £3B before the pandemic struck.
The bondholder prospectus said Brookfield had made £230M of liquidity available to Centre Parcs, of which £190M has so far been drawn upon. The debt buyback will reduce Centre Parcs’ debt from about £1.9B to about £1.65B, which will reduce the company’s interest payments.