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18 Mar 2021 | 15:28

Gym Group sees full-year sales plummet, no dividend

(Sharecast News) - The pandemic gutted Gym Group's finances in 2020, resulting in a near halving in profits and forcing it to draw heavily from its financing facilities. Over the 12 months ending on 31 December, the group's sales plummeted by 47.4% to reach £80.47m, flipping into a statutory loss of £36.4m.

In 2019, the company had turned a profit of £3.6m on that same basis.

Yet by freezing subscriptions when closed the group had managed to retain the majority of its members and by topping-up furlough pay it had retained most of its staff, chief executive officer, Richard Darwin said.

"By managing cash carefully we will emerge from the crisis with manageable levels of debt," Darwin said.

"We are ready to start rebuilding our memberships levels and growing our estate from 12 April, extending affordable fitness at a time when health and fitness has never been more important."

Its free cash flow meanwhile fell from £32.3m to -£16.5m over the same period.

Helping to offset that drain, Gym Group was forced to draw down its £100m of revolving credit facilities by £51m, although that was only a tad more than the £50m that it tapped in 2019.

In June of last year the company reached an agreement with its lenders - HSBC, Natwest and Banco Sabadell - to extend the £70m RCF by 18 months and to top it up by £30m.

The company's full-year statutory loss per share amounted to -23.1p versus earnings of 2.6p a year before.

On an adjusted basis, basic EPS fell from 7.7 to -22.9.

Due to the ongoing impact from the pandemic and taking into account the material government support which it had received, the board did not propose a final dividend.

One of the conditions of the new RCF was that the group would not declare a dividend "and whilst this facility remains undrawn the Directors would like to continue to have access to it as necessary."
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