Shearings Leisure Group increased its EBITDA by 30% last year to £9.1m (2014: £7m). 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 2% on the previous year. It increased revenues to £201m (2014: £200m), a record in the Group’s 100 year history. The Group made a pre-tax profit of £5m 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 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 Euro6 coaches, with 46 new vehicles (2014: 38) joining the 240 strong fleet this month. 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 brings the property and operating companies together under common ownership and management control. It also sees it appoint Grant Hearn as its new Chairman. Grant is the former Travelodge CEO and Chairman and has Non-Executive Director roles at 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, Shearings has also completed the acquisition of specialist holiday operator Equalmatch, which runs the Travelstyle and UK Breakaways brands. The company said the acquisition would complement its National Holidays business by expanding its regional presence in the UK.
Chief Executive of Shearings Leisure Group, Denis Wormwell, 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.’