PureGym, the UK’s largest gym chain, is aiming for listing on the stock exchange to expand to the again increasing demand for fitness since the relaxation of the corona restrictions.
The company, which is owned by US private equity investors, has appointed investment banking advisors to review fundraising opportunities to fund new gym openings and repay some of the debt. That could already include a listing this year.
On August 15, 1.6 million people were paid for gym membership. That was 94% of the level reached in December 2019 compared to 81% of that level in March.
Gyms have had to close for large parts in the UK and elsewhere in the past 18 months to minimize public mixing.
However, the lifting of most of the restrictions in the UK has resulted in a rapid recovery, PureGym said despite the Increase in home workouts during the various lockdowns. All 506 gyms in the UK, Denmark and Switzerland operate with minimal restrictions.
Humphrey Cobbold, CEO of PureGym, said the company was losing £ 500,000 a day in the “shockingly challenging first quarter” of 2021 when the gyms closed. It lost £ 92 million in the first six months of 2021, according to an update to bondholders on Thursday.
Sign up for the daily Business Today email or follow Guardian Business on Twitter at @BusinessDesk
“We believe this is an opportune time to expand into the UK and Switzerland in particular,” he said, saying that health “has become an even greater individual priority for consumers since the pandemic”.
A presentation by the company also highlighted the struggles of competitors who may be struggling to expand due to increased demand, and the disastrous period for retailers also resulted in lower rents in high street locations.
PureGym is owned by Leonard Green & Partners, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm that bought it for £ 600 million in 2017. The purchase came after PureGym earlier plans to float canceled on the London Stock Exchange in the months after the Brexit vote in 2016, citing weak investor demand.
The company has named investment banks Morgan Stanley and Barclays as senior advisors, with Royal Bank of Canada, Jefferies and Berenberg as bookrunners, the Financial Times reported first.