Healthy figures see Ben Dunne Gyms go from strength to strength

Gym business founded by former Dunnes Stores director posts €5m operating profit

Ben Dunne Gym at Northwood, Dublin. ‘I do this for fun,’ the businessman has said. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw for The Irish Times

Ben Dunne Gym at Northwood, Dublin. ‘I do this for fun,’ the businessman has said. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw for The Irish Times

 

Ben Dunne expects his gym business to record an operating profit of €5 million in the financial year to the end of this month. This would mark a 32 per cent increase on last year, when the overall 10-strong gym group made an operating profit of €3.8 million on revenues of €11 million.

Mr Dunne said his gyms now have 53,000 members, a jump of one-fifth on this time last year. He said he does not take a salary from the business. “I do this for fun.”

Accounts for Barkisland (Developments) Ltd which covers a number of Mr Dunnes’s gyms, show that that business owed Mr Dunne €7.57 million in interest-free loans at the end of May 2018. This was after it had repaid Mr Dunne €629,370 during the year.

Barkisland recorded pretax profits of €1.54 million after revenues increased by 7 per cent from €6.6 million to €7.14 million in the 12 months to the end of May 2018.

Accumulated profits

At the end of May last, Barkisland was sitting on accumulated profits of €11.68 million.

Numbers employed at Barkisland total 63, with staff costs of €1.8 million.

Mr Dunne said that the business plans to concentrate its growth in the Dublin area and is planning to open two new gyms at Parnell Street and the Clearwater Shopping Centre next year.

The Parnell Street gym will replace an existing gym at Jervis Street where the lease expires next year.

Drinks with high sugar content are regarded as the new tobacco

The Barkisland accounts show that Westpoint Health and Fitness recorded profits of €309,530 last year, with Carlisle Health and Fitness recording profits of €561,562 and Santry Health and Fitness posting profits of €288,469.

Soft drinks

Mr Dunne said he wants to stop selling high-sugar-content soft drinks from vending machines across his gym network, despite the machines generating €10,000 in sales per week.

“Drinks with high sugar content are regarded as the new tobacco,” he said. “This is not about profit at all costs. I don’t believe these drinks are a bit healthy and I am very much in favour of not having them for sale in our vending machines.”