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31. 03. 2020 15:03


Lloyds supplies £1.9m overdraft extension for Alfa Leisureplex Group

In the latest of its series of special business loans, Lloyds Bank has made a £1.9m overdraft extension available to Chorley-based holiday company Alfa Leisureplex Group, which employs 700 people

Its Alfa Travel operation uses 46 Mercedes-Benz Tourismo coaches to take guests to its 21 Leisureplex seaside hotels, and provide excursions.

Praised for measures taken to bring all of their customers home safely, the team at holiday firm Alfa Leisureplex Group sought the support needed to continue to do the right thing by customers and colleagues.

The money will be used to fund customer refunds and help to retain valued employees, says Lloyds.

Says Lloyds Banking Group Relationship Manager John Csizmadia: "I am so proud to be supporting this excellent business during these difficult times."

The overdraft extension is part of Lloyds Banking Group's £2bn financial support package to ensure small businesses in the UK have access to additional finance to overcome any impact of COVID-19 to their cashflow.

The Alfa Leisureplex Group is an employee owned organisation run for the benefit of our employees. We believe that employee ownership produces more commitment to delivering a quality customer experience and higher standards of customer service. It makes us a different sort of company and we try to ensure that is evident in all our interactions with customers and suppliers.

The business has annual consolidated gross sales of £38m. Employees share equally in the profits produced by the businesses.

It operates holidays to over 80 hotels and provides holidays for over 100,000 people per annum.

Unlike most holiday and coach companies, the Alfa Leisureplex Group is an employee-owned organisation run for the benefit of its employees, following a 2015 decision by previous owners the Sawbridge family, to provide a long-term future for the business and allow them to exit.

Says Alfa Leisureplex Group: "We believe that employee ownership produces more commitment to delivering a quality customer experience and higher standards of customer service.

"It makes us a different sort of company and we try to ensure that is evident in all our interactions with customers and suppliers."

Operating in an extremely competitive environment, when the Sawbridge family set up the Employee Trust they were careful to ensure that the firm remained commercially focussed.

The Sawbridge family remains minority shareholders with 25% of the business but is are 75% owned by the Employee Trust which controls the strategic direction and the distribution of profits.

The back story...

The Group was started in 1984 when Tony and Peter Sawbridge decided to create a hotel business catering mainly for clients on coach holidays.

Funds for the venture were provided by them and their four siblings and Leisureplex was founded and in spring 1984 bought its first hotel, the Hydro Hotel in Llandudno.

By 1989, the group had five hotels from the Eliot in Newquay to the Selborne Hotel in Dunoon.

Alfa Travel was established in 1990 to organise coach holidays, initially only from North West England and only to the Leisureplex Hotels. For the first few years, Alfa operated exclusively by using coaches hired in from other operators. However, in 1996 Alfa Coaches was formed to improve the quality of the coach operation.

Over the years, Alfa has extended its operating areas by creating new programmes, initially in the North East (1997), then the South East (1999), and Midlands (2003).

The year 2016 saw a new Yorkshire and Humberside operation with improved services in West and South Yorkshire and departures from Humberside and Lincolnshire for the first time.


Lloyds' COVID-19 support package

Lloyds Banking Group - whose brands are Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Bank of Scotland - is supporting UK small businesses impacted by COVID-19 in the following ways:

  • £2bn of arrangement fee free finance available to support small businesses up to £25m turnover in size
  • Relationship managers already speaking directly with businesses most likely to be impacted
  • Finance is available to support ongoing cashflow needs, caused by interruptions to supply chains or due to high staff absences
  • Current impact on UK businesses has been minimal, but LBG hopes this financial support will reassure small businesses should their situation change
  • This initiative is part of the Group’s £18bn commitment to support British businesses in 2020, as announced in January.

Relationship Managers from Lloyds Banking Group speak to nearly 5,000 small businesses each and every week and have already reached out to 10,000 SMEs to discuss any concerns they already have on the potential impact a sustained COVID-19 outbreak may have on their business.

This additional financial support, which has now been confirmed for small business customers with up to £25 million turnover, will include the removal of certain fees and the possibility of payment holidays for the worst affected.

Under this £2 billion financial support, Lloyds Banking Group’s small business customers can access: 

  • No arrangement fees for new overdrafts or overdraft limit increases
  • No arrangement fees for new or increased invoice discounting and finance facilities
  • In certain circumstances, repayment holidays to be provided, to those businesses impacted the most*

All customers with a dedicated Relationship Manager will be contacted to discuss their financial needs.

Says the bank: "This package of measures is another example of Lloyds Banking Group’s long-standing support for British businesses to help them navigate whatever the future holds.

"In January, the Group announced an £18 billion commitment to support businesses during 2020. In addition, since the start of 2011, the Group has grown its net lending to small and medium-sized businesses by 36% whilst the market has contracted by 11%."

Says David Oldfield, Group Director, Commercial Banking, Lloyds Banking Group: "We fully understand how worrying these times are for business owners, concerned not only about their and their own family’s health and wellbeing, but also of their employees.

"They are also worried what the outbreak might mean for their business and with no knowledge of how or when they might be affected.

"As our customers face into such uncertainty, we want to provide reassurance to them that, if needed, we are here to help with additional working capital to get them through temporary interruptions to their business and to their cashflow."

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