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Gymbox set for expansion with growth capital investment

BGF News 07.17.2014

The boutique gym chain Gymbox is set to expand in London and across the country with a £10m investment of growth capital from BGF, the independent company established to help Britain’s growing businesses.

Gymboxcurrently has 5 clubs across the capital and will use BGF’s capital to continue its site roll-out in London with three additional sites already secured. Beyond these, Gymbox now has the funding in place to open several further gyms in London, and in other UK cities.

Gymbox, recently voted by Cool Brands Expert Council as a leading UK Brand, has become an essential place for fitness-savvy Londoners by combining vibrant interior design with its unique take on exercise.

Founded in 2001 by Richard Hilton, Gymbox opened its first gym in Holborn in September 2003 and today has clubs in Farringdon, Covent Garden, Bank and Westfield. The company is expected to turnover £10m, with an EBITDA of £3.5m in the year ending October 2014 and currently has 13,400 members.  Richard, previously a marketing executive who worked on developing and building successful brands for Nike and Unilever among others, saw the gap in the UK market by observing the success of similarly differentiated brands in the USA.

Richard Hilton, Managing Director of Gymbox said: “This is an exciting announcement for us and we are delighted to be working with BGF as we look to the next stage of our growth.  The Gymbox brand has gone from strength to strength in recent years based on our contemporary club designs, exciting and original classes and our ability to offer customers new and unique ways of keeping fit. We look forward to opening new sites this year and next and introducing the Gymbox concept to a wider in audience in London and other UK cities.”

Alistair Brew, BGF commented: “We saw this as a fantastic opportunity to back an ambitious and proven management team in the roll-out of a successful and differentiated gym business which has had impressive success to date. Richard is a driven and committed entrepreneur whose track record of site selection, which is key in roll-out programmes of any nature, has been outstanding. The business has consistently hit its financial targets and we are delighted to be partnering at this stage of Gymbox’s exciting development.”

Paul Campbell who is Chairman of the Hawksmoor steak restaurant chain, former founder and CEO of The Clapham House Group plc, joins the board as Non-Executive Chairman. Paul’s experience of leisure roll-outs will prove invaluable as Gymbox expands. Following BGF’s £10m investment for a minority stake in the business, Alistair Brew will join Gymbox’s board as BGF’s representative.

The UK gym market was valued at £3.92bn in 2013 (source: The Leisure Database Company) with a growing trend whereby more nimble low-cost gyms are increasingly taking market share from mid-market operators. At the other end of the scale, upmarket gyms continue to be able to attract members with GYMBOX able to benefit from its unique positioning. Gymbox represents BGF’s second investment in the UK fitness market having backed low-cost gym group Xercise4Less in August 2013 which now has 23 gyms nationwide.

Gymbox is banked by HSBC and was introduced to BGF by Investment Director Alistair Brew who has known Richard and the GYMBOX business for several years having previously successfully backed them at another firm.