Virgin Active's valuation slips in third quarter despite new openings
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Virgin Active's valuation slips in third quarter despite new openings

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Virgin Active's value took a slight dip in the third quarter of the financial year, according to South African investment firm Brait - the fitness operator's controlling shareholder.

A trading update said that Virgin Active's valuation in Pound Sterling was £896m (US$1.1bn; €1.1bn) at the end of the three-month period to 31 December 2016, down 0.9 per cent from £904m (US$1.1bn; €1.1bn) in the previous quarter.

Its valuation in South African Rand decreased by 5.7 per cent. The fitness operator's net asset value (NAV) stood at ZAR15.2bn (£0.9bn; US$1.2bn; €1.1bn) in the third quarter, from ZAR16.1bn (£1bn; US$1.2bn; €1.2bn) in the previous three-month period.

Brait bought an 80 per cent stake of Virgin Active in April 2015.

It is now 30 per cent of Brait’s NAV and has replaced New Look as the group’s largest holding after the clothing retailer's value plummeted during the third-quarter period. Brait's other two major assets are supermarket chain Iceland and food producer Premier.

Virgin Active opened 16 clubs worldwide in 2016, taking the operator's portfolio number to 255, with global adult membership at 1.2 million at the end of the year.

Thirteen clubs opened in South Africa, two in Thailand and one in Singapore. The openings included four flagship Collection clubs in Cape Town, Pretoria, Singapore and Bangkok, six Lifecentre clubs and five RED clubs in South Africa, and a Lifecentre club in Thailand.

The number of clubs the fitness operator runs will go down once the sale of 16 clubs to David Lloyd Leisure goes through, a deal which was announced last week.

The trading update said the offloading of the clubs was the "final significant step in focusing its UK operations, in accordance with its international strategy, on metropolitan and commuter hubs in key markets", and that the sites had delivered "a compelling valuation".

Brait said Virgin Active would continue its upgrade programme in 2017 and operate 45 clubs in the UK, 33 of which are in London.

It added: "Virgin Active’s commitment to product innovation and an outstanding member experience was evidenced in 2016 with the further rollout of the Grid (a high intensity floor based functional training class) across more of the estate; the introduction of the Pack (a revolutionary group cycle product) into all major territories and significant enhancements to its digital offering."

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Virgin Active's value took a slight dip in the third quarter of the financial year, according to South African investment firm Brait – the fitness operator's controlling shareholder.
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