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Posted on: 21st April 2016
  • Group toasts record sales and profits
  • Existing backers increase investment to support long-term growth
  • Acquisition of regional specialist operator to complement escorted tours offering

Shearings Leisure Group (“Shearings” or “the Group”), the specialist operator of escorted tours and leisure hotels, increased profits (EBITDA) by 30 per cent last year to £9.1m (2014: £7.0m) alongside growth in revenues and passenger numbers*.

Strong demand for its UK holidays, together with margin improvements and operating cost reductions, contributed to the record performance.

In the 12 months to December 2015, the Group carried 1.1m passengers, up two per cent on the previous year, and increased revenues to £201m (2014: £200m) – a record in the Group’s 100-year history**.

The Group made a pre-tax profit of £5.0m compared to a loss of £0.9m last year and had positive cash of £1.4m at the end of 2015 compared to net indebtedness of £4.5m at the end of 2014.

The Wigan-based Group has also continued to invest in its infrastructure with increased spend on hotel refurbishments of £4.6m (2014: £3.6m) and the largest ever UK order of Mercedes Benz Euro 6 coaches with 46 (2014: 38) new, high specification vehicles joining the 240-strong fleet this month.

To help fuel further growth the business has also secured new investment from Lone Star Funds, a minority investment partner in Shearings Group, which has acquired the remaining shareholding previously held by management.

The transaction, which will bring the property and operating companies together under common ownership and management control, will create greater flexibility in the Group's operating model. It also means the Group's forward growth strategy is backed fully by a supportive and long-term investment partner.

This change to the ownership structure sees former Travelodge CEO and Chairman Grant Hearn, already a Non-Executive Director on the Board, take over as Chairman. Grant brings a wealth of experience to the business and has NED roles already at retailer Poundland and Scandic Hotels as well as being Chairman of another Lone Star owned business, Amaris Hospitality.

As part of its long-term growth strategy, the Group has also completed the acquisition of specialist holiday operator Equalmatch, which operates the Travelstyle and UK Breakaways brands, consolidating its position as one of Europe’s largest specialist holiday operators. Shearings said the acquisition would complement its fast-growing National Holidays business by expanding its regional presence in the UK.

Denis Wormwell, Chief Executive of Shearings Leisure Group, said: “This was another landmark year for the Group, with a fourth successive year of improved financial results, continued investment in the business, new ownership and our first business acquisition since 2005. With the backing of a long-term investment partner, our best ever line up of holidays and hotels, a well-invested estate and fleet and the loyalty of our fast-expanding over-50s audience, we’re in the ideal position to continue growing our presence and position as the leading escorted tours operator.”

With over 100 years of experience, the group offers coach, air, rail, cruise and hotels breaks to more than 170 destinations in the UK, Europe and worldwide.

ENDS 14th April 2016

* Shearings Leisure Group Limited (formerly Aghoco 1217 Limited) (“The Group”) was incorporated on 24 April 2014 and on 30 May 2014 acquired 100% of the share capital of the existing Shearings Group. Following this acquisition there were no significant changes to the Group’s operations. To ensure a year on year comparison can be made, pro-forma financials have been produced for the 12 months to 31 December 2014.

** Prior year sales and passenger volumes have been adjusted following the disposal of two leased hotels in 2015

Created on behalf of Shearings Group by Citypress.

About Equalmatch:

Equalmatch Ltd, trading as Travelstyle and UK Breakaways, has been providing value for money short breaks and holidays by coach throughout the UK and Europe since 1992. Based in Chesterfield, the group is one of the UK’s leading coach tour operators, carrying more than 100,000 holidaymakers every year.

For more information please contact:

Martin Currie

By Email:

By Phone:

+44 (0)161 235 0310


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