£200,000 for a timeshare

Started by Newshound, November 26, 2006, 00:16:31

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THE tycoon who made a multi-million-pound fortune from Homebase and Debenhams, John Lovering, and Mike Balfour, the gym entrepreneur who founded the Fitness First chain, are to help launch a luxury holiday home investment scheme.
Together with Investec, the bank, the pair have contributed to a £15m fundraising to help form The Hideaways Club, which will invest in a dozen villas across Europe.

The operation will be similar to the so-called "fractional ownership" system that has become established in the US. It has been likened to an upmarket version of timeshare.

Hideaways will soon begin inviting prospective members to join the scheme. Membership will cost about £200,000 with an additional annual fee of £10,000 to cover maintenance.

In return, members will receive a stake in the properties that the club acquires, by being granted shares in Hideaways, and the right to use the villas for a certain number of weeks per year. There will be no more than six shareholders per property. It is expected that the first properties will be ready for use by May 2007.

The scheme is the brainchild of Hideaways chief executive Stephen Wise, a former management consultant. The company's management team, which has also contributed to the initial £15m fundraising includes Patrick Henchoz, former chief executive of Esporta, the fitness chain. Balfour has been appointed chairman of Hideaways.

Eventually, the club hopes to own about 100 villas across the Continent, giving a maximum of 600 shareholders or members in the scheme.

Members will be required to stay invested for a minimum of three years.

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