SYDNEY INVESTOR BUYS NATIONAL LIFESTYLE VILLAGES

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Business News

23 May 2018

Sydney-based investor Rob Nichols has teamed up with Singapore-based investment fund GIC to buy the assets of Perth company National Lifestyle Villages following a review led by Sirona Capital director Kelvin Flynn, who has run NLV since October last year.

As part of the sale, private equity group Navis Capital Partners will dispose of its NLV shareholding. 

The NLV assets have been acquired by investment company Serenitas, which is jointly backed by Mr Nichols' Tasman Capital Partners and GIC. 

“Serenitas is an Australia-based operator that is providing a significant capital injection to NLV, which will give a substantial boost to the Western Australian economy,” Mr Nichols said in a statement.

NLV founder John Wood, who moved from chief executive to general manager sales when Mr Flynn took the reins last year, will join Serenitas as part of the deal.

Mr Wood will become Serenitas’ national sales and marketing executive, with an initial focus of transferring NLV’s business to the new owner.

Mr Nichols said Serenitas had committed to invest significant capital to complete the development of NLV’s villages, and would be seeking further growth opportunities in the sector.

NLV operates eight lifestyle villages and is developing two further villages, according to today’s statement.

The sale does not include the Helena Valley village, which operates under a branding license agreement with NLV and has separate ownership.

Malaysia-based Navis invested $40 million in NLV in 2007, for a 25 per cent shareholding.

NLV gained backing from another private equity group in 2014, when Blackstone agreed to provide up to $150 million of funding.

That allowed NLV to pay off its bank debt and a convertible note issued to Navis and was meant to fund the development of six new villages, according to comments made by Mr Wood at the time.    

Mr Nichols was the founder of east coast business Tasman Lifestyle Continuum, which had 11 villages.

Tasman was sold to Gateway Lifestyle Group in 2015 for $39 million.

Gateway listed on the ASX soon after, with Mr Nichols serving as its chief operating officer to the end of 2015.

The terms of the NLV sale were not disclosed.

As a guide to value in the sector, Gateway Lifestyle Group has a market capitalisation of $513 million.

It has 9,000 residents in 6,539 occupied sites across 56 communities.

By comparison, NLV claims to have 3,000 residents across eight communities.

The purchase of the NLV villages will have no impact on the residents' financial arrangements, as they own their own homes and their leases are unaffected.

Kelvin Flynn