3i goes Dutch with 275m gym deal

The London-listed firm will invest €110m for a 55% stake in Dutch discount gym Basic-Fit

3i Group has bought a 55 percent stake in Basic-Fit, a discount fitness operator in the Netherlands.

The London-listed private equity group will pay €110 million for the stake, with the existing management team holding onto the remaining 45 percent. The total enterprise value of the transaction is approximately €275 million, according to a statement.

Basic-Fit, headquartered in the Dutch town of Hoofddorp, owns 200 discount gyms across the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and France. In the Netherlands and Belgium, it has 95 and 79 clubs respectively. The company also has 17 sport centres in Spain and nine in France.

3i said that Basic-Fit had showed solid growth since its inception, driven by the consumer trends of spending polarisation and the increasing focus on health and wellness.

3i plans to support the company’s further domestic and international roll-out. In addition, it has introduced Ronald van der Vis as chairman of the Board. Van der Vis held previous roles as chief executive officer at optical retailer Pearle/Grand Vision and Esprit, an international fashion brand.

This is not 3i’s first foray into the discount consumer space in Benelux. It is currently also invested in Action, a discount retailer.

The investment in Basic-Fit is being made from 3i’s balance sheet. During a half year results call last week, 3i’s chief executive Simon Borrows said the group planned to do at least one or two deals before the end of the financial year.  He also revealed that its most recent flagship private equity fund, Eurofund V, is now back in the black.

However, Borrows also warned that the environment for doing deals is still subdued. “The pipeline is better and more interesting, but it’s still not what I would call robust. I think the volumes in M&A in Europe are still quite depressed. With our international network [we are] finding some interesting opportunities, but it’s against quite a slow market backdrop.”