Estates Gazette - October 4, 2010
The French owner of fitness club chain Esporta is preparing to bring a £200m sale-and-leaseback portfolio to market.
Investment bank Société Générale will soon start marketing a package of 17 of its Health and Racquet clubs in locations including Oxfordshire, Brighton and Cardiff.
Esporta has a total of 55 clubs in the UK.
Colliers International, which was appointed by SocGen last year to provide asset management advice on the portfolio, is expected to be instructed with the sales mandate.
It is not known whether the bank will be providing debt for the sale-and-leaseback.
One source said: “It will be difficult to get bank debt for the deal because it is an untested covenant and not a very popular asset class. However, a number of opportunistic companies could be interested.”
The source added that it is expected that SocGen will seek to sell the operating business in the future.
Esporta was previously part of Syrian property tycoon Simon Halabi’s empire. Halabi bought the chain from private equity group Duke Street Capital for £476m in 2006, with £330m of funding from SocGen.
However, Esporta’s holding companies, Bell Leisure I and Bell Leisure II, collapsed into administration a year later. SocGen took ownership, completing a debt-for-equity swap.
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