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Whitbread plans to roll out DLL in Spain

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Leisure company Whitbread will be rolling out its David Lloyd Leisure (DLL) brand to Spain as part of a deal with Spanish tennis club operator, Cesar Navarro.

The deal will allow Navarro to pursue Spanish development opportunities on behalf of DLL while Whitbread will be taking a minority stake in Navarro’s Barcelona-based racquet and health club business, Bonasport.

Subject to planning, Whitbread has already acquired Barcelona’s Real Club de Tenis del Turo for approximately £9m as a going concern and is currently looking at three to four other clubs in the territory.

If planning permission is granted, the Real Club should open as a DLL site in time for the Spanish club’s centenary celebrations in early 2004.

A spokesperson for Whitbread explained that, while other leisure companies with sites in the UK such as Fitness First are on the periphery of the Spanish market, Whitbread believe that there’s a genuine gap in this market for a DLL-type product to fill.

Across Spain, one adult in 20 holds a private fitness club membership, although this is expected to rise by 50 per cent over the next ten years.

This information, combined with the current buoyant Spanish economy, Navarro’s knowledge of the local business environment, the popularity of tennis in Spain and the family-orientated nature of the DLL brand, means that Whitbread believes extended success within the Spanish leisure market is within its grasp.

Other related international projects include a new DLL site in Dublin and another new site that is currently under construction in Brussels – however, there are no further plans to roll out the brand in the Benelux region.

Corporate development director for Whitbread, Tim Hammond, said: “In David Lloyd, we have a product well-suited to the Spanish way of life.

“In Cesar Navarro, we are working with someone who has unparalleled knowledge of Spain’s racquets and fitness club industry. By allying that to our brand management and operational skills, we see a real opportunity in a fragmented market.” Details: www.whitbread.co.uk

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Leisure company Whitbread will be rolling out its David Lloyd Leisure (DLL) brand to Spain as part of a deal with Spanish tennis club operator, Cesar Navarro.
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