UK Restructuring

Duff & Phelps Achieves Successful Turnaround of Dreamland


Duff & Phelps achieved a business turnaround following 18 months of trading, during which time the theme park and additional properties were developed through investment of £35m. Exit was via CVA which enabled dividend to be paid to unsecured creditors.

Duff & Phelps is pleased to announce that it has successfully secured over 250 jobs and led the project responsible for over £35 million of new investment into Dreamland (the "Company"), one of the oldest surviving amusement parks in the UK.

About the Company
Dreamland has traded under various companies for generations and is an important part of the local Margate community, providing full-time jobs to over 60 employees and more than 250 jobs to seasonal workers. Following its initial reopening in 2015, the Company struggled financially and entered a Company Voluntary Arrangement (“CVA”) that December. However, Dreamland continued to face cash flow pressures and subsequently entered Administration. 

Duff & Phelps' Role
Benjamin Wiles, Managing Director at Duff & Phelps, was appointed Administrator in May 2016. Following the appointment and after an initial period of trading, with the support of the secured creditor, Arrowgrass, the strategic options for the business were formulated by Duff & Phelps and reviewed with Arrowgrass and management. It was decided that the optimum outcome for all stakeholders would be achieved by implementing an operational and financial turnaround of the business to create a unique amusement park with rides, quality food and beverage, and most notably, a new events business cementing the future with a growing music offering.

Benjamin Wiles of Duff & Phelps, commented, "Having secured appropriate backing and forming a strong professional partnership with Arrowgrass, over £35 million was invested in the Dreamland project, enabling substantial redevelopment and re-landscaping, as well as broadening the business offering through the acquisition of several neighboring properties. The funding also enabled the acquisition of several new rides, improvements to existing rides and development of a variety of entertainment spaces."

Throughout the engagement, Duff & Phelps worked with a wide range of stakeholders including Arrowgrass, contractors, local authorities, charities and community groups to assist with the regeneration and turnaround of Dreamland, as well as to understand the potential value created for the local area.

Duff & Phelps’ ability to consider the long-term impact of the operational turnaround and redevelopment has allowed a stable platform to be established for further investment in the Dreamland project and the local area.

In January 2018, following the exit from Administration and the satisfaction of the Duff & Phelps instigated CVA, the Company was returned to the control of the directors and Arrowgrass, the new shareholder. Both parties remain committed to on-going funding to safeguard the future of the Dreamland project, securing jobs and continuing trade with local suppliers.

Benjamin Wiles concluded, “The relationship with Arrowgrass, and our shared vision for Dreamland and Margate allowed Duff & Phelps to implement a detailed, broad and unique turnaround within a short period of time and maximize the return to all stakeholders involved in the project.”

Duff & Phelps Achieves Successful Turnaround of Dreamland
Figure: Pre and Post Redevelopment 

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