Indian millionaire ’to buy iconic UK holiday company Pontin’s’

DHNS, 14-11-2010 13:28:10

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Indian millionaire Bhanu Choudhrie has teamed up with the Dubai Royal Family in a bid to rescue iconic British holiday company Pontin’s which has gone into administration, a media report said.

The 32-year-old London-based entrepreneur, through his family’s investment vehicle C&C Alpha Group, is contemplating buying the company, with a staff strength of 850, for up to 15 million pounds, the ’Daily Mail’ reported.In fact, the Alpha Group will hold discussions with Pontin’s administrator KPMG in this regard on Monday, it said.

"We want to keep the management team in place and expand the business," Choudhrie said, adding he had looked at the business six months ago after Pontin’s chief executive Ian Smith was searching for potential investors.

When asked about the previous talks, Delhi-born Choudhrie said: "We walked away from the deal, even though we travelled to two sites and spent 100,000 pounds on due diligence."

He said that Santander, which provided a 46-million -pound loan, pulled the plug on the business after talks with potential investors collapsed.

It was feared that up to 850 jobs were at risk, along with the holidays booked by hard-up Britons who had opted to for a cheap UK break. The five sites include Brean Sands in Somerset; Camber Sands in East Sussex; Pakefield in Suffolk; Prestatyn Sands in Wales and Southport in Merseyside.

Accountant KPMG has been appointed joint administrator and but all five sites continued to trade as normal.Jane Moriarty, joint administrator at KPMG, said: "Everybody should get their holidays. We fully expected a lot of interest in Pontin’s -- it’s an iconic British brand."

The company’s founder Fred Pontin opened his first holiday park in Brean Sands in 1946. At one point, there were 30 of them.

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