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Case study: Lake Argyle Resort

How we guaranteed the legacy of the Jewel of The Kimberley

Overview

After the successful sale of Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures, the Nash team were introduced to the owner of Lake Argyle Resort, Charlie Sharpe, in late 2019. Given the prominence and reputation of Lake Argyle in the region, it was easy to see that the resort would attract significant interest from a wide range of parties.  

Charlie had run Lake Argyle since 2004, however it was only recently that the park had gained prominence as a world class holiday location. Charlie had ambition to expand the park and build a luxury reception / restaurant center that would enhance the appeal of Lake Argyle to a global level. The key for Charlie was finding a partner that not only valued the underlying business, but also shared his ambition to continue the growth and invest in the business. 

Throughout the COVID pandemic, border restrictions across Australia impacted the operating conditions, as guests struggled to confidently book and attend their planned stay. In order to combat these difficult conditions, Nash set out a flexible sale strategy that allowed for the interested parties (that were able to get into WA) to conduct initial site tours of the resort when the borders opened. We also worked closely with the finance manager at Lake Argyle to provide constant updates on guest numbers which gave the interested parties further confidence on the performance of the underlying business as forward bookings remained strong.  

Industry

Tourism

Key outcomes

  • Lake Argyle Resort successfully sold to G’Day Group
  • Guidance through a complex sale process, complicated by COVID and WA border restrictions
  • Achieved an outstanding result for our client and helped G’Day Group consolidate their position in the Kimberley

The situation

Regarded as one of the best caravan sites in Australia, Lake Argyle’s stunning natural beauty is something every Australian must visit at least once in their life.  

The Resort boasts a range of accommodation options for every type of holiday maker from basic camping and powered caravan sites, through to luxury cabins and glamping. Lake Argyle caters to people of all ages, from young singles and families right through to grey nomads and international tourists seeking a unique & remote Australian bush experience.

Lake Argyle Resort was established by proud local and Kimberley tourism icon, Charlie Sharpe, in 2004. Charlie spent much of his childhood in and around Lake Argyle as his father was posted there in 1973 with the Public Works Department to look after the dam, the workers village and the lake. 

The Resort was developed over time from the original Dam construction camp to the preeminent luxury camping, caravan and cabin location in the Kimberley. The site now holds over 200 powered and un-powered camping sites, a number of luxury Kimberley Cabins & Lake View Villas, and offers a number of stunning Lake Argyle boat cruises.

In April 2021, Nash Advisory were engaged to conduct a formal sale process, targeting sale completion before the commencement of the 2022 busy holiday season (February / March).

How we got results

1

Anytime, Anywhere

Even during the pandemic, the Nash team were committed to visiting Lake Argyle Resort. In between border closures, the team spent time at the resort to ensure they understood the intricacies of the business and could create a compelling Information Memorandum to assist in the sale.

2

Pre-emptive Financial Analysis

As trading performance was impacted by the border closures, Nash developed a clean set of financials that the bidders could use to assess the value of the business. Nash consolidated the multiple entity’s financial accounts and converted from cash to accrual accounting in monthly format. Due to softer recent trading performance, Nash created a hybrid Financial Year using the months least affected from the last 4 months to create a ‘Normalised Financial Year’ profit figure. This allowed bidding parties to easily understand the value of the business.

3

Data Consolidation

Nash converted a paper-based booking system to an excel database so that interested parties could assess the occupancy rates and confirm accommodation revenue, providing greater comfort in the earnings. 

Nash matched the data from multiple systems used in the business to develop the financial accounts required for the sales process. These systems included the Point of Sale (POS) systems, an accommodation booking system and a tour operator system. Consolidating the data allowed the buyer to quickly understand the flow of transactions, confirm items were treated appropriately in the accounts, and move through the due diligence process with ease.

4

Business Improvement

Nash assisted Lake Argyle Resort in transitioning from a manual booking system to a new online booking system to deliver operational efficiency and improve ongoing reporting.

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It has been a privilege to work with Charlie and his family on the sale of the iconic Lake Argyle Resort. Charlie is a true legend of Kimberley tourism, and it is great that we have been able to find an excellent custodian for Lake Argyle in the G’Day Group.
Tom Butler
Tom Butler
Director

The people involved

Timeline of the sale

April 2021

Nash Advisory was engaged to undertake a sale process for Lake Argyle Resort

May 2021

Initial site visit 

June 2021

Creation of data book and account normalisation, including the consolidation of four entities into one in monthly format 

June 2021

Soft sounding of buyers and conversion of booking date from paper-based to excel database format for analysis 

July 2021

Develop all marketing material including Flyer and Information Memorandum 

July 2021

Engage with buyers and begin management meetings

August 2021

Open the data room for the preferred bidders

November 2021

Drafting of Legal documents led by Attwood Marshall

April 2022

Transaction completed

Services offered

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