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Pontin's camps to go back to their roots

Scottish & Newcastle yesterday announced a radical restructuring of its Pontin's holiday camp business which will involve the disposal of five of its 19 sites around the country.

Famous for its Blue Coats, Pontin's has helped spawn entertainers such as Shane Ritchie, Roger de Courcy and Jimmy Cricket.

S&N plans to return the business to its roots, offering traditional "Family Favourite" holidays. It will also continue to develop "Super Choice", which offers adventure holidays for children.

Pontin's has camps in some of the UK's most popular holiday destinations, such as Blackpool and Weston-Super-Mare. S&N refused to reveal which sites would be sold off.

One source said yesterday: "As soon as S&N can start producing higher returns from the remaining camps it is likely to look for a sale."

Pontin's profits nearly halved to pounds 3.2m in the six months to October due to higher marketing and development costs.

However, that did not stop S&N recording a 15 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to pounds 224.5m thanks to a strong performance from its pub and brewing business.

S&N plans to spend more than pounds 300m on its managed pub estate over the next two years. It is going to run down its 700-strong tenanted pub estate, selling some outlets and converting others to managed pubs.