Ex-chairman hopes to buy Holimarine

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The Independent Online
BRIAN DUNLOP is understood to be trying to buy the Holimarine business from Mowat, where he was chairman until receivers were appointed last month.

Holimarine is the third-biggest holiday parks business in the UK, with 11 sites, mainly in East Anglia and the West Country.

The market leaders are Rank Organisation, owner of Butlins, Warner and Haven, and Scottish & Newcastle Breweries, owner of Center Parcs and Pontins.

City sources say Mr Dunlop has financial backing from County NatWest Ventures, and has formally tabled an offer for Holimarine to Touche Ross, the receivers.

Precise financial details are unavailable, but there is speculation that Mr Dunlop's offer is not the only one under consideration by Touche.

S&N is thought to be cherry- picking, aiming to buy only a few of the Holimarine parks to complement its Pontins business.

Mowat's shares were suspended at 2.5p on the Unlisted Securities Market when the receivers were appointed.

Lloyds Bank led a consortium of 13 banks, which declined to extend Mowat's credit. They said receivership was the best option to untangle the difficulties in the company's property operations, and to overcome mounting debts.