IPOs are "not for the faint hearted" says Gym Group CEO as revenue and profit rise

Alys Key
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More than half a million people are now signed up to the budget gym (Source: Getty)

Shares in London's only listed gym company The Gym Group were nudged up today by growth in revenue and pre-tax profit during the first half, as the fitness company races towards the opening of its 100th site.

The figures

Revenue hit £42.8m in the six months to 30 June, up 18.8 per cent £36.1m in the same period last year.

Profit before tax increased by 75.5 per cent to £5.9m, compared to £3.4m in 2016.

Underlying earnings were up 19.1 per cent to £13.7m.

Members grew to past the half a million mark, with 508,000 people on the books.

Meanwhile six new gyms opened during the period, bringing the total to 95. Management gave guidance that it would hit the higher end of its target of 15-20 new gyms by the end of the year.

Read more: The Gym Group flexes its muscle as it moves into the black

Why it's interesting

The Gym Group remains the only London-listed gym company for the timebeing. Competitor Pure Gym pulled the plug on its own IPO plans last year, demonstrating the difficulty of listing a fitness company.

"It's not for the faint-hearted," Gym Group chief executive John Treharne told City A.M. on a phonecall this morning.

The Gym Group, alongside Pure Gym is part of the lower end of the gym market, with membership costing a low monthly fee. The group's strategy focuses on bringing in new consumers. "About 35 per cent of our members tell us they've never been a member of a gym before, so we're growing the market," said Treharne.

He also compared the business to a budget airline, opening up the activity to a wider range of people. Much like Ryanair, The Gym Group is now adding paid-for extra features such as giving members access to several gyms or allowing them to bring a friend.

Read more: How budget chain The Gym Group built up its muscle

What the company said

CEO John Treharne said that the aim for the next few years was to expand in the UK, adding that international markets were not a priority for the timebeing.

"We've got our 100th gym opening soon and we're already signing up sites for 2019 and beyond. Certainly our focus is the UK."

It is also a London-focused company, with 40 per cent of sites inside the M25 and new openings coming up in Stretton, Kingsbury Feltham and Walthamstow.

He added that the company's low net debt of £4.6m gave it a stronger position than some of its competitors for being a public company.

Read more: Fitter Britain: More people than ever are hitting the gym

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