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SATS’ CEO Gravir hits brakes on expansion despite record membership levels and income – focus for 2023 will be on 'economic improvements'

By Frances Marcellin    15 Feb 2023
CEO Sondre Gravir said SATS will respond to rising operational costs with “overhead organistion", which could include club closures for low-profit sites / Sondre Gravir - SATS
SATS Q4 2022 report shows record-level membership base, up 13,000 in Q4 to 721,000 overall
Revenue also increased from NOK 3,247m to NOK 4,082m
Positive momentum of new member sign-ups has continued into 2023, but operational costs are up
CEO Sondre Gravir says the focus for 2023 will be on 'economic improvements', with club rollouts being paused to allow this work to take place and loss-making clubs being closing

Results from SATS' Q4 2022 report show that membership numbers grew to record levels in 2022, reaching 721,000 overall, including an increase of 13,000 during the last quarter.

Annual revenues and use of digital also increased in the year, while visitation grew, with members working-out 10.5 million times in Q4 alone.

CEO Sondre Gravir said the positive momentum of new member sign-ups has continued into 2023, however, in spite of these results, a rising cost base is impacting the company’s EBITDA and growth, with energy costs up 41 per cent.

Gravir said the focus for 2023 will be on 'economic improvements' through increasing the number of members per club and also increasing revenue per member via price increases, which are already being well tolerated by members.

“During the fourth quarter, we continued the sharp focus on attracting new members and maintaining existing members,” said Gravir. “Our development in the fourth quarter is again proving that the Nordic population is still prioritising investments in health, despite a more challenging macro environment.”

In cutting costs, SATS will enter negotiations with landlords over rental costs which have been increasing.

Clubs with low profitability will be closed or relocated and electricity prices have been hedged for the first half of 2023.

Norway delivered the strongest performance with 2022 EBITDA NOK 337m (NOK 97m in 2021) while the operation in Denmark was the weakest, being loss-making in 2022 at NOK -46 against a bigger loss of NOK -51 in 2021, indicating that any necessary club closures could be focused on that market, although this has not been confirmed by SATS.

Sweden came in at NOK 192m (NOK 133m in 2021) with Finland showing a turnaround on the previous year at NOK 1m (vs NOK -48m in 2021).

SATS says although it's being affected by inflationary pressure in the short term, in the longer-term it's "comfortable with its ability to increase prices in line with inflation".

Overall, total revenues increased from NOK 3,247m in 2021 to NOK 4,082m in 2022, with revenue in Q4 at NOK 1,082m – an increase of 8 per cent on Q4 2021. However, the adjusted EBITDA showed a drop of 54 per cent from Q4 2021 of NOK 26m to Q4 2022 of NOK 12m due to increases in outgoings.

Overall profit/loss for the year was an improved NOK -246m against NOK -452m in 2021

At the start of Q4 2022, SATS was operating 275 gyms, up 13 from the corresponding quarter in 2021. Ten new gyms were due to open over the next two years, but plans for these have been put on hold pending the results of cost-reduction exercises, with Gravir saying additions to the club estate are 'temporarily paused'.

During an exclusive interview with HCM in Q4 of 2021, Gravir said that SATS was aiming to raise membership numbers to pre-COVID levels of 700,000, as the pandemic caused the base to drop to 600,000. The report’s results show that despite the ongoing complexities surrounding club operations, Gravir reached this milestone membership target.

SATS' annual report for 2022 will be published on 27 April 2023.

SATS STATS

Norway has 325,000 members across 122 clubs in 2022. One club opened during the year, but one closed in Q4 due to “club network optimisation”Sweden had 244,000 members at the end of 2022 and 92 clubs with one club closing

SATS operates 32 clubs under the brand name Elixia in Finland – last year one new site opened in Q4 2022SATS Denmark finished the year with 82,000 members and 29 clubs – it had 30, but one was closed

Sondre Gravir  SATS 
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