Ben Dunne's fitness firm looks healthy
FORMER supermarket boss Ben Dunne's health and fitness centre holding company saw retained profits rise 9pc to ?3.08m for the year to the end of May 2004.
Recently filed accounts for Barkisland (Developments) Ltd, which is wholly owned by Mr Dunne and his son Mark, show that his decision to reinvent himself in the leisure industry is increasingly paying dividends.
Mr Dunne said yesterday: "I am thrilled with the whole thing. It is a very interesting business."
"Its like the jumbo jet, the hardest thing is getting the thing to take off. Once it's up and running it is easier to keep it there."
Individual accounts for the two centres open to date, Westpoint in Blanchardstown and Carlisle in Kimmage, show a small profit and modest loss respectively, according to figures listed by parent company Barkisland.
Mr Dunne said a further Dublin health and fitness centre was due to open in Santry in February of next year.
He added that he hoped to attract new business to his existing and planned clubs by investing in top-of-the-range spa facilities.
And he said that his chain's first move out of Ireland should be ready to open in London sometime next year.
This centre will be built on a 21-acre site in Wimbledon which Barkisland acquired for around ?4.5m. This is expected to be the first of four fitness facilities he plans for Greater London.
Mr Dunne recently sold his entire commercial property portfolio to his lawyer and former Dunloe Ewart boss Noel Smyth for a reported ?25m-plus to fund his fitness empire.