Pontin's - The Inside Story
Intro. Pontin's is a name closely associated with keyboard-organ festivals. The first one took place at Pontin's Baron Hall in December 1980. Since then much had happened to Pontin's, as you will read below:
When a Pontin's ex-manager was asked what he thought of Pontin's going into administration, he said: "I am surprised it has not happened earlier."
His reply made us look into the history of Fred Pontin's holiday empire after he sold it and went into semi-retirement in 1978. He died in the year 2000 at the age of 93.
The demise started after 1978 when the company changed hands several times and was bought back by Trevor Hemmings, who was also associated with Fred Pontin before the initial sale.
It would appear that Trevor Hemmings, who also owns the Blackpool Tower complex, set about asset stripping the Pontin's sites, selling many off for housing developments.
Many working for Pontin's are of the opinion that little, if any, of the profit from the sale of sites was ploughed back into the remaining sites. Hence the demise was accelerated. From over 25 sites in 1978 the number dropped to 5 in 2009.
During recent years Trevor Hemmings became the 70th richest man in the UK at one point - according to the Sunday Times Rich List.
From the foregoing it is alleged that making money appeared to be the prime factor - over and above keeping people in jobs and creating holidays for the public, which Fred Pontin set out to do.
Below we give details of the wealth of Trevor Hemmings - the man who appears to have put money first and foremost.
Trevor Hemmings, 73, who has a 28% stake in Preston North End FC, has seen his fortune fall 71% in the past year. He was a right-hand man to Sir Fred Pontin at his holiday camp business and helped to assemble a management buyout in 1987. Within two years Hemmings had sold Pontin’s to Scottish & Newcastle for a large share stake. He must love Pontin’s as he quietly bought it back again for less than £30m in 2000. His S&N stake was worth £218m when the company agreed a £7.8 billion takeover at the start of 2008. Other leisure interests include Blackpool Tower, bought for £74m in 1998, and the Littlewoods pools operation, acquired from the Moores family for £161m two years later. His main holdings company, the Northern Trust Group, saw its net assets fall from £285m to £248m in 2007-08. We can see another £38m of stakes in other quoted companies including Arena Leisure and Preston North End. The pub operation Trust Inns had £168m net assets in 2007-08.
RESULTS FOR 2008
Ranking: 70 In the Sunday Times Rich List
Source of wealth: Property
In 2009, the banking crash and plummeting property values have taken a heavy toll on Hemmings’ interests, so his wealth was cut by £730m.
RESULTS FOR 2009
Ranking: 178 In the Sunday Times Rich List
Source of wealth: Property
Report from News Mirror dated 25th July 2011:
NOTE All the facts and figures in this report are in the public domain and appear on other websites.