Branson pumps Virgin Active clubs into £12m deal

Branson pours millions into Virgin Active to help gym chain beat pandemic

  • Virgin Branson Group put in £2.4m to reflect its 20% stake
  • South African investment firm Brait, which owns the other 80%, has given £9.6m

Sir Richard Branson has poured millions of pounds of new money into Virgin Active to help the gym chain beat the pandemic.

Virgin Branson Group and South African investment firm Brait completed a joint £12m capital increase for Virgin Active in recent weeks as the Omicron variant pushed the entertainment companies’ recovery in the opposite direction.

Brait, which owns just under 80 per cent of the fitness chain, contributed £9.6 million and put Virgin Group £2.4 million to reflect its 20 per cent stake.

Reporting: Virgin Active recovery has been damaged by Omicron variant

The latest round of shareholder support comes after the £70m restructuring completed in May, after Virgin Active came close to unraveling during the pandemic.

Under the bailout, the group renegotiated debts with its lenders and landlords, and Virgin Group and Brit injected £45m.

Brait, which is controlled by South African businessman Christo Wise, launched a 3 billion rand (£140m) rights issue last month, saying Virgin Active’s ‘underperformance’ during various shutdowns required ‘significant’ support. ”From the shareholders.

It financed its 80 per cent share of the capital increase by extending its bank debt.

It is understood that this month’s cash injection of Virgin Active’s £12m is well placed to ensure the fitness chain can withstand a bumpy and protracted recovery from the pandemic.

On Monday, Branson also contributed a £400m donation to Virgin Atlantic to guide the airline through the winter travel disruptions.

In total, Branson and Virgin Group have pumped more than $800m (£600m) into Virgin companies since the pandemic began.

Branson, 71, founded Virgin Active in 1999 and now has 43 clubs in the UK, as well as 194 clubs in Europe, South Africa, Asia and Australia.


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