Forest Holidays is tipped for £100m+ sale

Holiday parks that are part-owned by the Forestry Commission have been tipped to be sold for more than £100 million.

Phoenix Equity Partners is understood to be leading the bidders for Forest Holidays, which owns luxury wood cabins.

Other suitors include buyout firm Caledonia Investments and Center Parcs, according to The Sunday Times.

The sale will provide a windfall for the Forestry Commission, which owns just under a fifth of the shares.

LDC, the buyout arm of Lloyds bank, holds just over half of the company after backing a management buy-out five years ago.

Forest Holidays began life in Scotland in the 1970s when the Forestry Commission built several cabins next to Loch Lubnaig near Stirling.

The business now operates nearly 600 cabins in nine sites across the UK, including the Forest of Dean and Sherwood Forest. It employs about 600 staff.

The company’s pre-tax profits rose from £6.7 million to £6.9 million in the 12 months to March, after revenues increased from £32.5 million to £36.5 million.

The Forestry Commission earns a fee for every cabin on its woodland – an arrangement expected to continue after the sale.