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NVM invests in SeaWorld, Legoland people dryer company Haystack

20 Nov 2012

UK private equity firm NVM has made a £3.5m investment in Haystack Dryers, a maker of people dryers for swimming pools, spas, theme parks and water parks including SeaWorld, Universal Studios and Legoland.

Part of the funding has been invested as development capital to take advantage of the rapid growth of theme parks in the Far East and also to support expansion into new sectors, NVM said.

The size of the stake was not disclosed.

Dorset, England-based Haystack Dryers was founded in 2000 to sell people dryers to swimming pools and leisure centres within the UK.

Paul Thomas became managing director of Haystack in 2006 and transformed the business into the world’s leading provider of people dryer products into the theme park sector.

The company generates the majority of its income through a ‘revenue share scheme’ whereby Haystack retains ownership of the dryer and receives a proportion of the income generated once it is installed at a customer venue.

This business model has achieved significant growth in recent years, with a significant proportion of the revenue being long-term in nature and very predictable, NVM added.

Haystacks Dryers’ core product is the Cyclone Dryer, designed to dry up to five people at one time. This is currently supplied to customers such as SeaWorld Group, Universal Studios and Legoland.

The company now operates dryers across 16 countries.

“The theme park market continues to expand rapidly, especially in Asia where there is substantial investment in new theme parks,” said Thomas.

“We are also seeing an increase in the numbers of theme park attendees globally, so there is growth across the sector in which we are a global leader.

“With the new funding and ongoing support from NVM we will be able to take advantage of the theme park boom and also expand this versatile product into new sectors.”

David Rolfe, an investment director of NVM Private Equity, added, “Paul Thomas is very entrepreneurial and ambitious and has shown his ability to transform a UK invention into a global success.

“Paul is hugely enthusiastic about the opportunities that lie ahead in a number of different sectors and we are delighted to be able to work alongside him to develop the business further.”

BDO advised on the deal.

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