Business Irish

Saturday 10 December 2016

'Dragon's Den' heavyweight gets a no from Anglo over expansion plans

Published 01/06/2010 | 05:00

Businessman Duncan Bannatyne takes a chip from the plate of former prime minister Gordon Brown in a fish and chip shop in
Great Yarmouth during a stopover in last month's UK election campaign
Businessman Duncan Bannatyne takes a chip from the plate of former prime minister Gordon Brown in a fish and chip shop in Great Yarmouth during a stopover in last month's UK election campaign

Duncan Bannatyne, the hard-nosed Scot who's on the panel of the BBC version of 'Dragon's Den', said he has been unable to embark on further expansion of his chain of 60 fitness centres because Anglo Irish Bank wants to raise interest rates on nearly £150m (€177m) of loans to the business before it considers giving it any more.

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Mr Bannatyne said that he might have to set up a separate company with a new bank in order to take his plans forward.

Mr Bannatyne told a UK newspaper yesterday that he wanted to grow his eponymous fitness chain via acquisitions, but had been hampered by Anglo Irish Bank's demands for higher interest charges on existing facilities in return for more finance.

"They would want to increase the interest rates on our existing business before lending us more, so that would be an issue," he told the 'Daily Telegraph'.

Allied Irish Banks is the other principal banker to Bannatyne Fitness.

Accounts for the business filed in the UK show that the company had total debt of £158m (€187m) and its annual interest bill is in the region of £10m (€12m).

According to the most recent set of accounts for Bannatyne Fitness, nearly £10m was repayable within one year from the end of 2009, while £29.6m is repayable within two and five years.

The accounts also note that its bank loan is payable at an interest rate that's 1.65 percentage points above Libor (London Interbank Offered Rate).

The current one-year Libor rate is about 1.15pc.

A dedicated philanthropist, Bannatyne is also the owner of a fledgling hotel business.

Irish Independent

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