Media centre

All Group media enquiries should be directed to
Vanessa Maydon, Corporate Affairs Director.

Cinven Partners LLP
Warwick Court
Paternoster Square
London EC4M 7AG

Tel: +44 (0)20 7661 3325
Mob: +44 (0)7802 961 902
Email: Vanessa Maydon

Press releases

Fitness First
22 September 2005

Fitness First delivers healthy returns

European private equity firm, Cinven, today announces that it has agreed the sale of Fitness First to funds advised by BC Partners for an enterprise value of £835 million (€1.2 billion).

Fitness First, an investment of the €4.4 billion third Cinven fund, was acquired in a
£404 million (€580 million) public to private transaction in June 2003.

The investment case for Fitness First focused on a number of core initiatives:

  • controlling the rapid expansion undertaken immediately prior to the acquisition;
  • the realignment of the company’s new club opening programme with a strong weighting towards building international revenues and profits from high growth, high return regions such as Asia and Australia;
  • the introduction of new management to bring operational and retail disciplines to the UK portfolio and the implementation, more broadly, of additional management and financial best practice;
  • the turnaround of loss making jurisdictions;
  • investment in the refurbishment of the acquired portfolio of clubs and improved member services; and
  • optimisation of Fitness First’s balance sheet through sale and leasebacks of the company’s freehold assets.

As a result of these initiatives, Fitness First is expecting to achieve EBITDA of about £95 million in the year to October 2005, which represents an increase of 85% over the comparable figure in 2002. Furthermore, as a consequence of highly targeted geographic diversification, the company now generates approximately two thirds of its profits from non-UK operations (40% at the time of acquisition).

Today, Fitness First is the world’s largest fitness company. It has over 1.1 million members served by 424 clubs (March 2003: 346) in 15 countries. The Company now enjoys market leadership in 10 of the 15 countries in which it operates.

The divestment of Fitness First has enabled Cinven to deliver very healthy returns on its original equity investment to its investors and the third Cinven fund as a whole to return €3 billion to investors through a combination of exits and refinancings.

The sale of Fitness First follows the successful sale of NCP in August 2005, which generated returns of about three times, and the IPO of Foseco plc in April 2005, an investment made in September 2001 by the second Cinven fund, which generated returns of 3.7 times (including the fund’s retained stake in Foseco).

UBS Investment Bank acted as financial adviser to Cinven and Fitness First.

Yagnish Chotai, Partner of Cinven, said today:
"After a period of rapid UK domestic and international growth, Fitness First found itself in a difficult position as a publicly listed company: market sentiment had moved against the sector as a whole and, following a profits warning, the business lacked access to debt and equity capital markets to exploit the commercial opportunities available to it.

"Under Cinven’s ownership, a highly experienced and professional senior management team was provided with the financial resources both to optimise the performance of the club portfolio as it stood in 2003 and to focus on additional but selective international expansion into the attractive Asian and Australian markets. The initiatives undertaken by Cinven and the management team have created the truly global market leader that has generated strong profits growth and significant returns for Cinven’s investors."


John Lovering, Chairman of Fitness First, added:
"Fitness First’s business has been transformed under Cinven’s ownership. The core focus of the new management team has been on injecting operational disciplines and returns based capital investment into a business that had expanded rapidly as a listed company. Cinven has proved a highly supportive backer of the business both financially and through their significant experience in the leisure sector."

Portfolio company videos

 Clinical Trials

Bioclinica

Clinical Trials

 Travel services provider

Hotelbeds Group

Travel services provider

 Truck component manufacturer

Jost

Truck component manufacturer

 Footwear and accessories retailer

Kurt Geiger

Footwear and accessories retailer

 Contract research organisation

Medpace

Contract research organisation

 Electronic security and alarm systems

Pronet

Electronic security and alarm systems

 Property valuation and advisory services

Tinsa

Property valuation and advisory services

 Ufinet is a neutral telecom operator.

Ufinet

Ufinet is a neutral telecom operator.

 Business services software

Visma

Business services software

Media contacts

Cinven

Vanessa Maydon
Corporate Affairs Director
Tel : +44 (0)20 7661 3325
Mob : +44 (0)7802 961 902
Email : Vanessa Maydon

Clare Bradshaw
Communications Manager
Tel : +44 (0)20 7667 3248
Mob : +44 (0)7881 918 967
Email : Clare Bradshaw

UK - FTI Consulting

Edward Bridges
Tel : +44 (0)20 7269 7147
Mob : +44 (0)7768 216 607
Email : Edward Bridges

Stephanie Ellis
Tel : +44 (0)20 3727 1173
Mob : +44 (0)7890 543 056
Email : Stephanie Ellis

France โ€“ FTI Consulting

Guillaume Granier
Tel : +33 (0)1 47 03 68 61
Mob : +33 (0)6 32 65 79 28
Email : Guillaume Granier

Caroline Guilhaume
Tel : +33 (0)1 47 03 68 17
Mob : +33 (0)6 38 91 88 51
Email : Caroline Guilhaume

Germany - FTI Consulting

Lutz Golsch
Tel : +49 (0)69 920 37 110
Mob : +49 (0)173 651 7710
Email : Lutz Golsch

Daniel Herbert
Tel : +49 (0)69 920 37 183
Mob : +49 (0)151 122 63834
Email : Daniel Herbert

US - Joele Frank

Jonathan Keehner
Tel : +1 212.355.4449
Mob : +1 917 589 2073
Email : Jonathan Keehner

Julie Oakes
Tel : +1 212.355.4449
Mob : +1 917 574 7263
Email : Julie Oakes

Spain โ€“ Groupo Albion

Alejandra Moore Mayorga
Tel : +34 91 531 23 88
Email : Alejandra Moore Mayorga

Sofia Garcia
Tel : +34 91 531 23 88

Italy โ€“ Community Group

Roberto Patriarca
Tel : +39 02 89 40 42 31
Mob : +39 335 65 09 568
Email : Roberto Patriarca

Marco Pedrazzini
Tel : +39 02 89 83 66 21
Mob : +39 347 0369 222
Email : Marco Pedrazzini