Clubhaus buys four courses for pounds 10.3m

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The Independent Online
Clubhaus, the fast-growing golf course operator, has acquired four courses in the South-east of England for a total of pounds 10.3m. It will finance the deal with a placing and open offer to raise pounds 15.7m.

The four courses are the Meyrick Park golf club near Bournemouth, Dorset, for pounds 1.7m, Stapleford Abbots, Romford, Essex, for pounds 2.9m, the Three Rivers Golf and Country Club, Cold Norton, Essex, for pounds 4m and the Benton Hall golf club, South Wickham, Essex, for pounds 1.9m. The placing and open offer will be for 19.8 million new shares priced at 82p per share.

Clubhaus has acquired seven UK golf clubs this year and has a total of 11 courses including three in continental Europe.

Commenting on the deal, Charlie Parker, Clubhaus managing director, said: "We see these acquisitions as a significant step in implementing our strategy of expanding the portfolio of golf clubs in England. It will enable us to exploit further benefits of multiple ownership, increasing our margins and giving significant cost savings."

The company launched a Clubhaus loyalty card earlier this month. It gives members reduced green fees at the group's courses. In a trading statement it said the early part of 1997 had seen encouraging trading. Membership renewals are in line with expectations and the number of rounds played is ahead of budget.

The company, which was de-merged from property group Ex-lands in February last year, said it was close to achieving critical mass. The next stage of development would be to consolidate the portfolio, the company said. This could include the introduction of health and fitness facilities at the clubs to make them more attractive centres for families.

In March Clubhaus announced maiden pre-tax profits of pounds 1.5m on sales of pounds 7.3m for the 14 months to 31 December. Clubhaus shares closed down 1p at 86.5p.