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David Lloyd reveals acquisitions in Europe and a new green club concept for the UK

By Frances Marcellin    30 Sep 2022
DLL is taking its country club formula to Madrid while opening a new green club in the UK / DLL
David Lloyd Leisure bought gyms ABC Serrano and La Finca in Madrid
La Finca will be family focused, ABC Serrano is more high-end for professionals
Russell Barnes, CEO, says acquisition in Europe is the company’s key growth strategy
Also opening this month is a new green club concept in Bicester UK
In Europe, acquisition is our key growth strategy
– Russell Barnes, CEO, David Lloyd Leisure
Credit: David Lloyd Leisure

David Lloyd Leisure (DLL) has acquired fitness clubs ABC Serrano and La Finca in Madrid. Once refurbished they will open in 2024.

La Finca is located 20 minutes from the heart of Madrid and will become a family-focused facility. The ABC Serrano club spans four floors above the ABC Serrano shopping centre and will target professionals seeking upmarket fitness and wellness facilities. Work on both clubs will start next year.

DLL has a stated aim of using the disruption of the pandemic to scale its portfolio, with aquisition as its core growth strategy. In an exclusive interview, CEO, Russell Barnes told HCM: "Coming out of the pandemic, lots of companies find themselves having to let go of assets to keep their core businesses afloat. This provides an opportunity for M&A the likes of which we probably haven’t seen, nor will we likely see again, in our working lifetime. DLL, therefore, has a chance to accelerate its growth."

The company acquired its first Spanish club in Barcelona in 2017, the same year it successfully built and opened a club in Aravaca Madrid. Last year it acquired three further clubs, at Gava Mar near Barcelona, Malaga and Zaragoza, from Grupo Accura. The company has allocated a €9m budget to transform these three facilities.

The acquisition of multi-site businesses is a key part of the DLL strategy, with Barnes telling HCM: "Growth via single-location new-builds is infinitely harder in Europe than in the UK, so we’re looking to acquire multi-site operators where we not only get an immediate foothold but also local expertise and a management team that comes with the business."

The Spanish acquisitions coincided with the opening of David Lloyd Bicester this month (September 2022), the first of DLL’s new generation of clubs to incorporate more green technology. These new green club concepts will also include a broader range of facilities, such as padel tennis and extra space for outdoor group exercise.

Earlier this year the company opened its doors to the new Cricklewood club following a £5.5m investment of the former Virgin Active site, and acquired Z2 in Modena, its second Italian club – the other being Milan’s David Lloyd Malaspina.

DLL has been buoyed by a rapid bounceback and business growth following the pandemic, increasing its number of clubs from 90 to 130 over the last few years. The DLL estate now comprises 101 UK clubs and 29 in mainland Europe.

David Lloyd Leisure  ABC Serrano  La Finca  Madrid  Russell Barnes  Barcelona  green club concept  padel tennis 
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