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10 October, 2013

Brussels, 8th October 2013  

The Strong Get Stronger – EHFA/Deloitte release midyear update to European Health & Fitness Operators Report

The largest European fitness operator brands plan on further growth. Investors have injected funding of more than EUR 1.5 billion in the industry so far in 2013. The European Health & Fitness Association (EHFA) in cooperation with Deloitte publishes today a report on the major developments in the fitness industry in Europe in 2013.

Rene Moos and his partners might not have expected this when starting their tennis company: Buying back the stake of an investment company (Waterland PE) thirty years later and being the second-largest health and fitness operator in the European market in terms of memberships with their European Leisure Group, which consists of the two brands HealthCity and BasicFit. With their recent growth to 680,000 members in the first half of 2013, ELG could replace Virgin Active, the fitness company of multi-entrepreneur Richard Branson, as #2. The German discounter McFit, with around 1.2 million members, remains by far the leading operator by members. The company is currently preparing for further expansion into new markets such as Poland or Italy.

There is a lot of movement also at the fourth-placed Health & Fitness Nordic (HFN) and #5, David Lloyd Leisure (DLL) who replaced the former European market leader Fitness First in the top five in June 2013. The HFN Group has announced the merger of its fitness operations SATS and Fresh Fitness with ELIXIA Nordic, thereby creating the leading market player in Scandinavia. In September 2013, British provider DLL announced its takeover by the private equity firm TDR Capital Press which is aimed to promote further growth in the UK and Europe.

Currently, a total of 5.2 million people exercise at the top 5 operators.
Herman Rutgers, Board Member of the European Health and Fitness Association (EHFA), comments on the latest developments: "In recent years four of the five largest international fitness providers acquired new partners in order to grow and exploit the opportunities in the market." In its new report, created in cooperation with Deloitte, EHFA outlines the current situation of the largest European health and fitness providers as well as merger & acquisition activities. The report which is issued now is an update of the full report that was published in April.

The increased activity on the M&A front underlines the obvious interest of investors in the H&F sector. In the first 9 months of 2013, already a handful of private equity firms invested in different operators in the discount segment. While NorthHolding bought a majority share in the low-cost provider Jumper Fitness in Germany, Pure Gym and The Gym Group found new financial partners in the UK. In the current year fitness operators in Europe altogether received cash injections of more than EUR 1.5 billion so far for their further growth.

"The fitness sector is more attractive than ever for investors because of the ongoing positive market outlook, as well as the new and promising business concepts developing in the fitness supply structure in order to better meet consumer demands" comments Niels Gronau, market expert at Deloitte.

The update report is available at € 99 for non members and for € 49 for EHFA members. Both the Update and Full Report can be ordered through our website direct link


Note to Editors...
About Deloitte:
Deloitte provides audit, tax, consulting and financial advisory services to public and private clients spanning multiple industries; legal advisory services in Germany are provided by Deloitte Legal. With a globally connected network of member firms in more than 150 countries, Deloitte brings world-class capabilities and high-quality service to clients, delivering the insights they need to address their most complex business challenges. Deloitte has in the region of 200,000 professionals, all committed to becoming the standard of excellence.
About the European Health and Fitness Association (EHFA):
EHFA- The European health & fitness Association, with its origins in 1996 as a not-for-profit organization, represents the interests of the European health & fitness sector at the EU level.
With an office and staff in Brussels since 2007, EHFA has been recognized as the official representative body for the sector. Its objective is “More People, More Active, More Often”. EHFA is also a standards setting body and promotes best practices in instruction and training to help battle the inactivity and obesity challenges spreading across Europe.
EHFA has among its membership more than 10.000 facilities, 18 national associations, leading suppliers, education/training providers and individuals. EHFA represents the sector with the EU and has very good connections with DG Sanco and DG EAC, who have awarded operating grants and project grants to EHFA. Two projects were conducted with EU funding; “The Hub”, a research project on the effects of Physical Activity promotional campaigns and a study in 8 countries called “Fitness Against Doping”.
The association organizes several annual events for the sector, such as the Fitness Forum, International Standards Forum and the Executive Leadership Forum.
EHFA supports the development of the European Register of Exercise Professional, EREPS which it operates. EREPS is an independent process for the registering of qualified instructors, trainers and teachers working across Europe in the exercise and fitness industry, who meet European standards. These standards are developed for the sector under supervision and guidance from the EHFA Standards council.
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Press Contact:
Jessica Orazio

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