Trabolgan complex put on the market with £20m-plus price tag


Trabolgan Holiday Village, the holiday complex on the Co Cork coast, is to be sold as a going concern by its owners, Scottish and Newcastle (S&N), as part of the disposal of its holiday centre interests.

Jones Lang LaSalle and Ernst and Young have been jointly instructed on the sale of the business, which is likely to make in excess of £20 million.

Originally established by a Dutch company in 1975, Trabolgan has grown to become one of Ireland's best-known family holiday centres, with 172 purpose-built holiday homes and a full range of leisure facilities including pools, amusements, adventure activities, playgrounds and an 18-hole par-three golf course.

It covers a prime and extensive 135-acre seaside site in an area where accessibility by road has been greatly enhanced by the Lee tunnel and other road infrastructural improvements in the vicinity.

Trabolgan is making profits of well over £1 million annually and benefits from more than a 50 per cent repeat business rate, according to the owners. While the profit level would suggest a selling price of over £20 million, interested parties will obviously take into account the obvious development potential on one of Cork's most spectacular coastlines. Buyers will also be able to avail of £3 million in capital allowances and may be able to revive an outline planning permission for a medium-sized hotel and 37 holiday homes which has elapsed. With the economic boom of the last few years allowing an increasing number of families to buy second homes despite Government taxation measures, Trabolgan might well be bought not by holiday company but by a property syndicate keen to exploit its development opportunities.

Located 28 miles from Cork International Airport and within easy proximity of the city's ferry services to France and Britain, Trabolgan is well placed to expand its international business, as well as building on its strong Irish base, according to the selling agents.

S&N has invested substantial sums in the facilities at Trabolgan over the past two years. According to Stephen Murray of Jones Lang LaSalle, the owners have received a number of approaches in anticipation of its disposal. He said further contacts are being made with a limited number of key national and international players in the hotel, leisure and property sectors regarding this opportunity.

David Grace, chairman of Trabolgan, said that apart from the good cash flow produced by the business, there was an obvious demand for more housing sites and good quality accommodation in the area. S&N is selling Trabolgan following its decision to dispose of its entire leisure business. It has already found a buyer for Pontins, the eight UK-based holiday camps that are targeted at the lower end of the market.

The company has also operated Center Parcs, which are spread across five European countries. S&N's holiday businesses made operating profits of almost £54 million sterling in the year to last April. The company is expected to net more than £800 million from the sale of its leisure business.

The Edinburgh-based brewer, already one of Europe's four largest beer companies, is expected to use the cash to give it a central role in the next round of industry consolidation. Its interests include Beamish and Crawford in Cork.