Funding the Future: unlocking capital to power the growth we need12:00 am - 1:00 pm
Heavenly holiday parks with lodges, hot tubs and spas
Into the woods
Coppergreen Developments started out as just a few acres of land in North Yorkshire.
“It began very small,” recalls chief executive David Copley. “Myself and my business partners Donna Copley and Richard Sidi bought the land just outside Thirsk and got planning permission for twenty lodges. We called it Woodland Lakes Lodges.”
The firm runs four luxury leisure resorts in countryside locations in England and Scotland.
Steve Brown, a founding director of Center Parcs UK, was appointed non-executive chair following a BGF introduction.BGF Talent Network
This was November 2007. Back then, David and his colleagues also ran several successful caravan/lodge parks under a company called Darinian. “The plan for Coppergreen was very different to Darinian,” explains David. “We were trying to move upmarket by aiming for a more luxury lodge business. Also, following the crash in 2008, actual caravan/lodge sales became more difficult. We moved into the rental market with Coppergreen and saw a great opportunity for doing rentals on the site in North Yorkshire.”
By 2016, Woodland Lakes Lodges had expanded to 50 properties available to rent year-round, with the business growing organically through personal investments made by the founders. And then a phone call to a friend changed everything.
“A guy I knew owned a site in Scotland called Piperdam Leisure Resort, and just mentioned to me one day that he was thinking of retiring and selling the park. I knew straight away that if we could raise the funds I wanted to buy the park.”
BGF's investment has helped Coppergreen to...
Acquire Piperdam Leisure Resort in Scotland.
Purchase and expand Kenwick Park Golf Hotel and Spa in Lincolnshire.
Buy land in Nottinghamshire to develop into the firm’s fourth resort, Clumber Park.
From one park to four
After speaking to several funders, David was introduced to BGF, which agreed to invest £11 million as part of a joint package with HSBC that included a £14 million debt facility. “BGF was the best funder we came across in terms of appetite to do the deals, and also in terms of the equity they wanted in the business,” adds David. “And the process was very straightforward.”
A couple of years later, with Coppergreen Developments now running two successful holiday parks, it was time to expand again. This time BGF invested a further £10 million of growth capital, alongside £15.3 million from HSBC. The finance enabled Coppergreen Developments to acquire – and subsequently expand – Kenwick Park Golf Hotel and Spa, and also purchase some land the founders owned privately in Nottinghamshire. This land was then developed into Coppergreen’s fourth leisure resort, Clumber Park, which opened in the summer of 2019.
BGF was the best funder we came across in terms of appetite to do the deals, and also in terms of the equity they wanted in the business.
David Copley, chief executive of Coppergreen Developments
BGF's total investment, made up of £11 million of growth capital and £10 million of follow-on funding.
‘Best we’ve dealt with’
As well as helping fund the expansions, BGF’s Barry Jackson joined as a non-executive director following the first funding round in 2016 – a move that continues to work well for the team. “Having dealt with a number of investors over the years, I would say that BGF has probably been the best investor we’ve ever dealt with,” adds David. “And Barry has been very helpful, working positively with the team all the way through.”
An aerial spray to protect coastlines from oil spills
Agile Spray Response offers technology to manage and resolve oil spills at sea using an aerial spray delivered by large jet aircraft.
We’re ready. Are you?
Want to join some of the nation’s most ambitious and successful companies?
We’re always looking for the next brilliant business to back.