Pure Gym unveils plans for stock market flotation
Fitness chain Pure Gym has unveiled plans for a stock market flotation as it hailed the latest step in its journey from start-up to "undisputed market leader".
The group is aiming to raise £190 million from its initial public offering (IPO) to further seal its position as the biggest gym group in the UK's £4.4 billion health and fitness market.
Pure Gym was founded in 2008 and now has 163 gyms and nearly 786,000 members nationwide, boosted by the takeover last year of rival LA Fitness.
The group now wants to roll out its affordable and flexible gym membership model further across the UK, while also looking at other areas of the fitness market and possible acquisitions.
Tony Ball, chairman of Pure Gym, said: "Pure Gym's growth from a start-up company in 2008 to undisputed market leader today is a story of disruption and shows how entrepreneurial vision can build real business success."
Pure Gym wants to open between 20 and 25 gyms each year, while also looking at possible similar ventures such as its Pure Ride indoor cycling and spin experience studio in Moorgate, London, which was developed with s ix-time Olympic track cycling champion Sir Chris Hoy.
Sir Chris joined Pure Gym in June last year as a brand ambassador, a role that also saw him become an investor in the business.
Mr Ball added: "Our successful model is built around our members' needs and it has made gym membership accessible for hundreds of thousands of people and created a fast-growing, successful company.
"Considering what the company has achieved in just eight years, I am hugely excited about its potential for the future."
Pure Gym could reportedly be valued at around £500 million when it lists.
Its float follows soon after last November's listing by low-cost rival The Gym Group, whose shares have had a bumpy ride, at one stage falling below their initial IPO price in the turmoil after the Brexit vote.
But Humphrey Cobbold, chief executive at Pure Gym, said the group is "ready to become a listed company".
The chain saw its earnings lift by 46% to £28 million in 2015 following the completion of its purchase of LA Fitness for an undisclosed sum, believed to be between £60 million and £80 million.
The business has converted LA Fitness sites to Pure Gyms as part of a £30 million investment programme.
Pure Gym is classed as a budget fitness business, with most of its sites open 24 hours a day, and where members pay monthly fees rather than signing long contract commitments.
The firm was founded by health club veteran and executive chairman Peter Roberts, who launched its first two gyms in Manchester and Leeds in November 2009.