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Bannatyne Group doubles profits ahead of expected IPO

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The Bannatyne Group returned an impressive set of financial results for 2015, putting the health club chain on firm foundations for an expected IPO in the coming months.

The business is thought to be lining up a £300m float on London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) and the announcement that the chain’s pre-tax profits jumped 138 per cent to £8m in 2015 will no doubt catch the eye of investors.

The latest set of accounts show that last year signalled a return to form for Duncan Bannatyne’s business, as revenues climbed three per cent to reach £100.9m. Profits had taken a significant hit in 2014 as the company uncovered the cost of an £8m fraud by former finance director Christopher Watson, however the firm credited strong leadership as a key driver in the revival.

The company’s new top team – helmed by CEO Justin Musgrove – is committed to taking the business into a new era as the chain works to redefine itself as a premium proposition and move out of the squeezed middle market.

The new philosophy seeks to offer an "upmarket service with budget club efficiency" and has seen heightened focus on customer experience, improved technology and smarter use of the synergies between the health club, spa and hotel arms of the business.

The Group is currently working through a £16m investment programme to refurbish its 66-strong estate, while it also wants to carry forward growth momentum from recent acquisitions such as the purchase of Clarice House country hotel and spa, as well as the Xpect health club in Braintree.

“The success of our investment programme, providing the best equipment, state of the art technology and leveraging our expertise in spas in an ever growing health and fitness market, has driven the Group’s performance during 2015,” said Musgrove.

“Having seen the positive returns of our plan, we will continue to drive our growth through investment in our remaining 35 health clubs and the roll out of 16 new Bannatyne Spas.”

The health club market has been awash with IPO activity and speculation since last November, when The Gym Group became first UK gym operator to go public in more than a decade. Pure Gym is understood to be lining up a £500m+ IPO, while David Lloyd Leisure has also said a listing is a possibility for its chain in the next couple of years.

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The Bannatyne Group returned an impressive set of financial results for 2015, putting the health club chain on firm foundations for an expected IPO in the coming months.
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