David Lloyd Leisure (DLL) is moving ahead with its plans to multiply openings in several more European countries in the coming years, starting with Italy and Germany.
Stéphane Rutté, who was appointed as European acquisition manager earlier this year, said that the group could double its network in the next ten years, which would raise the number of clubs to about 200.
Formerly in charge of David Lloyd in Belgium, Rutté said the company’s priority targets for development are Italy, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, along with Spain and Belgium, where the group already has four sites.
“We have built up a property team and identified these markets as the most interesting for David Lloyd,” said Rutté. “We are taking a more opportunistic approach in other European countries, but we will certainly not turn down interesting options.”
DLL currently runs 95 full-service clubs with multiple sports facilities in five countries, with 486,000 members at the end of last year. All but twelve of them are in the U.K., seven in the Netherlands, two in Belgium, two in Spain and one in Ireland. The British group has agreed in February to take over another 16 clubs from Virgin Active, although the deal has yet to be cleared by the U.K. competition authority.
The first new destination for David Lloyd is likely to be Italy, as the group is negotiating a leasing agreement to take over the Malaspina club in Milan. A special general assembly of the club’s shareholders in March has approved a thirty-year leasing agreement for the club, with an option for DLL to acquire it outright. The agreement has yet to be entirely finalised, but the prospective buyer is hoping to be ready for September.
The group is also hoping to have at least one property signed by the end of this year in Germany, where it has identified three regional targets: the Rhein-Ruhr area (around Cologne and Düsseldorf), Frankfurt and Munich.
Read the full story in FNE#30.
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