Its operations count 233 clubs serving more than a million customers in eight countries and four continents including market leading positions in South Africa, the UK and Italy and a strong growth platform in Asia and Australia.
Virgin Active’s vision is to become the world’s most loved exercise brand. It offers outstanding club propositions, including state‐of‐the‐art equipment and cutting edge classes, in large flexible club formats which can be tailored to local member demand. Virgin Active benefits from the aspirational Virgin brand with strong awareness and consideration in its key markets which helps attract members, employees, commercial partners and developers to its business.
The Virgin Group incorporated Virgin Active in 1997 and opened its first club in the UK in 1999. In 2001, Nelson Mandela called Richard to ask him to save more than 4,000 jobs by rescuing Health and Racquet Club out of liquidation. Richard agreed and set in motion what was to become one of most loved and instantly recognisable health club brands. Since then, the company has demonstrated a successful track record of growth through both organic club roll out and further strategic acquisitions including the acquisition of Holmes Place and Esporta in the UK and Europe.
The Virgin Group has partnered with a number of different investors along the way, including Bridgepoint, Permira and CVC Capital Partners. In April 2015, South African private equity group Brait SE acquired an 80% stake in Virgin Active for £682m. The deal valued Virgin Active at £1.3bn enterprise value.
Virgin Active‘s purpose is “making exercise irresistible” and what they aim to deliver is feel good exercise experiences, anytime, anywhere. This includes excellent group exercise, personal training and a personalised experience. Their efforts do not only deliver value for their customers but also for the broader community with active youth programs in South Africa, UK and Australia.
Virgin Active also has a strong focus on reducing the environmental impacts of its clubs, exemplified by the Barangaroo club in Australia which is carbon neutral, water positive and has zero waste emissions as well as the South Africa business which has solar tubes to heat showers, reclaimed heat from air conditioning systems to warm swimming pool water and efficient water recycling systems.