Indian millionaire could buy Pontins

PUBLISHED: 20:12 12 November 2010 | UPDATED: 09:23 15 November 2010

The Pontin's site at Pakefield

The Pontin's site at Pakefield

Holiday company Pontin’s has entered administration following a dramatic drop in bookings.

AN INDIAN millionaire could buy Pontin’s, the chain of holiday camps that collapsed into administration, according to reports.

Bhanu Choudhrie and his family’s investment vehicle C&C Alpha Group could team up with the Dubai Royal Family to buy the business – including the site at Pakefield site in Lowestoft – for up to £15m, it is claimed, securing 850 jobs in the process.

Mr Choudhrie told a Sunday newspaper that he wanted to keep the existing management team in place and expand the business. They are set to have discussions with administrator KPMG today.

The administrators are optimistic of finding a buyer and have pledged to keep running all five sites – in Brean Sands in Somerset, Camber Sands in Sussex, Pakefield, Prestatyn Sands in Wales and Southport on Merseyside.

The Indian entrepreneur said he had looked at the business six months ago when Pontin’s chief executive Ian Smith was searching for potential investors.

C&C Alpha Group has a vast portfolio of investments, ranging from award-winning spa hotels in India and Mauritius to a portfolio of hospitals and care homes in the UK.

Jane Moriarty, of administrator KPMG, said she had received numerous expressions of interest from third parties. A sale process was likely to take two or three months, she added.

KPMG plans to appoint a leisure operator this week to help them run the business and has pledged to honour all bookings. It catered for 5,000 guests at the weekend. None of the 850 staff has been made redundant.

Pontin’s slide into administration has come as a surprise because more people have been taking holidays in the UK rather than abroad because of the weak pound. The company was bought by Ocean Parks for £46m in 2008, who closed a site in Blackpool last year.

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