SCOTTISH entrepreneur Chris Trainer has reaped more than £30 million from the sale of his Forrest Media outdoor advertising company.

Mr Trainer, who is the third biggest shareholder in Celtic Football Club with a 10.45 per cent stake, sold the business to London-based Ocean Outdoor. The deal gave the Glasgow company an enterprise value of £32 million.

Mr Trainer was the controlling party of Forrest Media through his ownership of 100 per cent of the shares in holding company Forrest Group, and the firm had no debts.

Forrest Media is a major player in digital “out of home” advertising in Scotland and the North of England, owning prominent sites in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle and Manchester. It reported net revenue of £8.4 million and adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) of £3m for 2017, according to unaudited accounts.

Ocean Outdoor said combining Forrest’s standing in Scotland and the north of England with its presence in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Bristol and Nottingham would give it a market-leading position across the UK.

READ MORE: Trainer hails Clydeside revival

The deal comes at a time of continuing consolidation in the outdoor advertising market. Ocean Outdoor itself came into being following its acquisition by Ocelot Partners’ in March, with that deal giving Ocean an enterprise value of £200m. Shares in the merged company, which was renamed Ocean Outdoor, have since been suspended pending completion of the deal.

Mr Trainer said: “When Ocean acquired Ocelot, they had an agenda which was consolidating the sector, and I think it is needed.

“Forrest is now part of a very strong UK-wide business that is the clear market leader in that sector. Outdoor as an industry is competing with digital media and it has to have a strong platform. That’s what this does. It’s a real win-win for everybody.”

Forrest Media will continue to be run from its Glasgow base, under managing director Marc Keenan, as part of Ocean’s new Scottish division. The media business employs around 20 staff in Glasgow.

Mr Trainer, who becomes chairman of Ocean Scotland, said Forrest Group will continue to own the outdoor advertising sites further to the deal, with its Forrest Securities division leasing them to Ocean on a long-term basis.

“We’re still very connected to it in that sense,” Mr Trainer said.

The sale of Forrest Media effectively means Mr Trainer has more time to focus on his other business interests under the Forrest Group banner. The group recently launched its first hotel, a Radisson Red next to the SSE Hydro in Glasgow, following a £30m investment, with Mr Trainer having previously signalled a desire to open more hotels around Scotland and elsewhere in the UK.

Other businesses in the stable include Forrest Developments, which delivers commercial property projects for major retailers, and Forrest Displays, focused on giant advertising banners. Forrest Securities is the largest freehold landlord of outdoor advertising sites in Scotland.

Mr Trainer said: “We have always been opportunity-driven and will continue to look at areas the group can evolve into outwith our obvious association with Ocean moving forward.”

Meanwhile, Mr Trainer said trading at the Radisson Red has been “fantastic” since the 174-bedroom hotel opened its doors in April.

“We have been blown away by the uptake, it’s been incredible,” he said.

Ocean said the Forrest deal was funded through its cash on hand and that it would be immediately accretive to earnings. In a statement to the stock exchange, it said it has identified incremental synergies through combining Forrest Media assets with the Ocean portfolio.

Ocean reiterated that it intends to seek re-admission of its ordinary shares to the stock market “as soon as is practicable”.

Chief executive Tim Bleakley said: “Forrest Media are the champions of out-of-home in Scotland and it’s a business we have long admired. This is a hugely exciting time for both companies and the sector.”