National Car Parks
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|Industry||Car parks and public outsourcing|
|Key people||Jo Cooper, CEO|
NCP also had a growing service business, but this demerged from NCP in 2007. It is called NSL Services Group, and was previously called NCP Services Group. They also operated a bus company in London, called NSL Buses, and this was previously known as NCP-Challenger.
NCP was founded in 1931 by Colonel Frederick Lucas. In October 1948, Ronald Hobson founded Central Car Parks, joined by his partner Sir Donald Gosling after the pair invested £200 in a bombsite in Holborn, central London to create a carpark. In 1959 Central Car Parks took over NCP from Anne Lucas, the widow of Colonel Lucas.
Hobson and Gosling expanded the company by recognising the under developed status of many post-World War II British cities and towns. After the purchase of NCP the pair began buying sites in central London, converting them and large garage sites into car parks. NCP then began managing sites on behalf of third parties. National Parking Corporation was formed in 1986 as the holding company for NCP and its subsidiaries, including the roadside assistance firm Green Flag. In the early 1990s NCP was accused of planting spies in rival group Europarks, but Britain's then biggest industrial espionage trial ended with the acquittal of NCP chief executive Gordon Layton.
By the mid-1990s NCP had become one of the most successful private businesses. In 1994 it was a target of a £530million consortium bid of venture capital investors, led by Prudential, which eventually fell through. In 1998, after a late abortion of the flotation of the business on the London Stock Exchange, the company was bought by US-based property and travel services provider Cendant for £801million. Hobson, Gosling, and their family trusts who owned 72.5% of the National Parking Corporation taking £580million.
The new owners re-focused the company’s operations, changing NCP from a mainly property owning company into a more service-focused organisation in the broader transport sector. In 1999, NCP divested itself of Green Flag which was sold to Direct Line. In the same year, the company launched the UK’s first private-public partnership – setting up a joint venture with Manchester City Council to establish NCP Manchester Ltd (NML).
In 2002, UK-based Cinven purchased NCP from Cendant. NCP began to develop business contracts in the provision of enforcement services for local authorities, vehicle removals, awarded two bus route contracts in west London; and debt recovery, where by 2005 it had become market leader in its field.
NCP was sold to 3i in July 2005 for £555million, with 3i saying it would continue to grow NCP as a service-oriented and public-outsourcing company. In order to maximise the growth potential of both sides of the business, in 2007 the original parking arm of the company National Car Parks Limited was separated from the newer service-based side of the business (NCP Services Ltd) creating two distinct and diverse companies.
National Car Parks Limited (the original parking operator) was acquired in 2007 by Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund II.
In December 2011 it was reported that the company was struggling with its debt and at risk of restructuring, after suffering a pre-tax loss of £93.5m for the year to March 2011.
Today NCP hosts car parking in all areas of the UK, supporting some of the most popular public services such as London Heathrow, the world's 4th largest airport. They also run the flagship hospital car park located at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge.
- NCP sold to 3i for £555m The Times - July 13, 2005
- Millions for car park entrepreneurs BBC News - 24 March 1998
- NCP Services Ltd
- "Lenders to NCP poised to take over indebted car park group". The Guardian. 2011-12-09.
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