Most recently, Fitness World operated 19 facilities in the Poland, located in Wrocław, Katowice, Kalisz and Częstochowa, among others. Since April 2017, Klaus Neess has been in charge for the business in Poland.
Medicover has been the majority owner of Poland's second largest fitness aggregator OK System since 2018, with 78 per cent of the shares. For medicover, the access to sports facilities complements its health services with preventive offerings. Through OK System, companies can offer their employees access to sports and fitness facilities as fringe benefits. By taking a direct stake in a fitness provider, the group now also integrates the supply side into its portfolio and thus secures access to fitness services.
“The common denominator remains a concern for a healthy lifestyle, which is a priority for many conscious Polish people and a key element of work-life balance for employees in many organisations. For us, this is an element underlying all activities,” comments Artur Bialkowski, Managing Director for Business Services at Medicover Poland.
Already on 10 November 2020, Fitness World Poland had announced on its website that it had filed for bankruptcy. The company cited liquidity shortages due to the renewed closure of gyms in connection with the Corona epidemic as the reason. By order of the Polish government, gyms had to close again from 17 October, following a lockdown from March to June. As a result, the company claims to have been deprived of its main source of income and to have been unable to meet its financial obligations. Moreover, since the numerical share of the Polish plants in relation to the overall group was insignificant and their contribution to group EBITDA has been marginal, the decision is also strategic in nature. As a consequence, the group will be able to focus its strategic efforts, management resources, and capital in markets that offer more promising growth potential.
Since January 2020, Fitness World has been part of the UK's largest fitness operator PureGym. The fitness chain PureGym currently operates around 275 facilities in the UK. A market entry in the US is in the pipeline. According to reports in the Washington Business Journal in July 2020, a lease has already been signed for a space in Springfield in northern Virginia. The group also includes the Swiss fitness provider basefit.ch, in which Fitness World acquired a stake in October 2018. Fitness World currently operates around 180 facilities in Denmark; basefit.ch owns approximately 40 facilities in German-speaking Switzerland. This brings the group's total to almost 500 facilities, even after the discontinuation of the Polish market.
Medicover Poland is part of Medicover AB, a specialised provider of diagnostic and healthcare services, focusing primarily on markets in Central and Eastern Europe and India. Medicover AB has been listed on Nasdaq since May 2017 and is headquartered in Stockholm. However, the company has had a strong focus on the Polish market since its inception, as the founder's vision was to provide high-quality healthcare services in Poland. Thus, it opened its first clinic in Warsaw in 1995. By the end of 2019, the company operated a total of 120 facilities, 82 of them in Poland. In 2019, the company generated 45 per cent of its total revenues in Poland; for the health care segment, the figure is as high as 77 per cent.
Source: Fitness World Poland, Medicover Poland, Medicover AB
Picture: Medicover Poland