East Anglia: Gym chain LA fitness to sell 33 clubs, including Bury St Edmunds, Colchester, King’s Lynn and Cambridge
PUBLISHED: 11:16 18 March 2014 | UPDATED: 13:29 18 March 2014
National gym chain LA fitness is to sell off 33 of its 80 clubs, including six in the East of England.
The move is part of a restructuring plan to focus on a smaller portfolio of clubs and reduce its debt burden, with the company also seeking a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) with some of the landlords affected.
Among the clubs being put up for sale by LA fitness are the Bury St Edmunds, Colchester, Cambridge, Bedford Park, Huntingdon and King’s Lynn sites
Five other clubs in the region, including Brentwood, Billericay, Thorpe Bay, Norwood and Bedford Heights are among a total of 47 being retained.
The company said the planned sale would have “no immediate impact on the day-to-day running” of the clubs affected, for members, employees or suppliers.
“The clubs that the group is selling as part of the CVA proposals will continue to operate as normal in the near-term and every effort will be made to ensure that members are unaffected,” it said in a statement.
“It is also expected that the majority of the existing employees will continue to be employed under a TUPE structure by the new owners.
“This will help to secure the long-term future of the group, and the result will be a business with the financial strength and operational flexibility to continue investing in its retained portfolio of 47 clubs for the benefit of its members.”
If approved, the CVAs will revise lease terms at a number of clubs, paving the way for a restructuring package that will reduce the group’s debt burden by around £250million and put in place new term loan facilities. This package has been agreed, but its implementation is conditional upon the CVAs being approved.
LA fitness chief executive Martin Long said: “LA fitness is a strong brand that is valued by its members. We have had a good start to 2014 and our membership numbers are up year-on-year.
“It is a structural issue that is hampering LA fitness and it is through this process that we will create a leaner, more operationally efficient business, with a long-term, sustainable future as one of the UK’s leading health and fitness operators.
“Importantly, we will have the financial strength and operational flexibility to continue investing in facilities, equipment and technology across our retained portfolio of clubs to enhance the experience for our members.”
It is intended that accountants and business advisers firm Deloitte will supervise the CVAs, with creditors due to vote on the proposals on Monday, March 24,