CHEERING: Bernie McGovern and his son Will have sold Rivershore Resort, in Diddillibah in a very big business deal.
CHEERING: Bernie McGovern and his son Will have sold Rivershore Resort, in Diddillibah in a very big business deal. John McCutcheon

Coast resort sells for $23m to ASX-listed company

AN AWARD-winning luxury camping and glamping resort on the banks of the Maroochy River has been sold for $23.25 million.

Rivershore Resort was bought by ASX-listed Ingenia Communities Group, which announced today it had acquired the popular resort at Diddillibah.

The deal struck delivered a $23.25 million payday for resort owner Bernie McGovern, who could pocket up to another $4.5 million in a year's time, if the resort continued to grow.

Mr McGovern and his sons, Will and Bernie (known as Bernard) will stay on for the next 12 months as management consultants to oversee and guide the transition of ownership.

Mr McGovern spent about $10 million acquiring the site and developing the resort, which opened in 2016.

 

Rivershore Resort at Diddillibah is rated the best of the BIG4 holiday parks in Australia. Pictured are the resort's safari tents.
Rivershore Resort at Diddillibah is rated the best of the BIG4 holiday parks in Australia. Pictured are the resort's safari tents. Contributed

The deal is set to settle by the end of this month.

"It's sold with a bit of a heavy heart but the industry is being corporatised very rapidly and we thought 'yep', we believe in their (Ingenia) management style," he said.

"It'll take this park to the next level.

Ingenia specialises in holiday accommodation and retirement villages.

 

Rivershore Resort at Diddillibah is rated the best of the BIG4 holiday parks in Australia. Pictured is pools and the playground at the resort.
Rivershore Resort at Diddillibah is rated the best of the BIG4 holiday parks in Australia. Pictured is pools and the playground at the resort. Contributed

Mr McGovern said Ingenia wanted to carry on in the footsteps of the family, who'd established a multiple award-winning business based on a high level of personal service for customers.

"All the troubles I went through to get it developed, we've proven everyone wrong," Mr McGovern said.

"We would run the highest occupancy of any caravan parks in Australia, by a long way."

He said the business was growing by about 15-20 per cent each month and their October figures had been nearly 30 per cent higher than last year's.

 

CHEERING: Bernie McGovern and his son Will celebrating.
CHEERING: Bernie McGovern and his son Will celebrating. John McCutcheon

Mr McGovern said Ingenia had also sold 10 per cent of its shares to Sun Communities, a US-based company which managed RV resorts.

"The Sunshine Coast will get international exposure from this," he said.

The resort was 100 per cent full again this weekend and Mr McGovern said the sale to a listed company had been a sign of the changes within the industry.

"If you can't beat them you've got to join them," he said.

"This is retirement for me."



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