Center Parcs drops BLJ and appoints Brunswick

Short-break holiday operator Center Parcs has ditched its retained financial PR adviser Brown Lloyd James (BLJ) and drafted in Brunswick six months after the firm’s flotation on the AIM.

A spokesman for Center Parcs confirmed that the company had brought in Brunswick but he declined to comment further.

Brunswick partner Fiona Antcliffe is leading the account and reports to Center Parcs CEO Martin Dalby.

It is understood that around six agencies were approached during the pitch for the business.

Brown Lloyd James Financial was engaged to handle the complicated AIM listing which took place on 11 December. The listing followed institutional bid vehicle Arbor’s acquisition of Center Parcs from venture capital firm MidOcean last year. Around £245m was raised through a subsequent placing of ordinary shares, although the remaining acquisition costs were to be recouped through the accelerated stock market listing.

An accelerated mechanism involves the placement of the majority of shares with institutional investors so that a company can be taken to market in a matter of weeks rather than months.

The firm floated at 100p a share with the price rising to 106.5p on 23 January. The shares dropped over the following months but last week (Friday) had rallied to 94.5p.

Center Parcs runs holiday villages in forests near Bath and Nottingham, and in the Lake District and Suffolk. It said in April that it was looking at opening another site after strong bookings.

In March, Center Parcs issued a statement explaining that 100 guests at its Longleat Forest venue had contracted gastroenteritis. One month on, chairman Martin Robinson said that the virus had not affected bookings.

The firm has brought in PricewaterhouseCoopers to look at the possibility of installing casinos in anticipation of new gambling regulations to be introduced within the next two years.

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