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Ben Dunne Gyms show €1.7m profit

Businessman Ben Dunne confirmed yesterday that his gym business recorded an operating profit of around €1.7m last year and is due to open three new gyms in Ireland and Britain this year.

In an interview yesterday concerning accounts just filed by his gym firms to the Companies Registration Office, Mr Dunne said that the business "washed its face" and projected an increase in revenues of 13% this year.

Mr Dunne said that he has provided €15m of his own funds to the business that includes €2.1m in a director’s loan for 2011.

He said: "Only for me, the business wouldn’t be there, but I wouldn’t be investing it in if I didn’t think it was going to be successful."

Mr Dunne said that he will invest a further €2m to €3m of his own money in the business this year to fund its expansion further in Britain and Ireland.

Mr Dunne said that the group recorded a pre-tax loss of around €300,000 last year, but this was after taking into account non-cash depreciation costs of €1.3m and bank interest payments of €700,000.

He described the operating profit for last year as "quite healthy".

Abridged accounts for the controlling company, Barkisland Developments Ltd, show that its retained profits fell by €295,000 from €5.08m to €4.79m in the 12 months to the end of May last.

Mr Dunne declined to state what revenues his gym business generated last year, but said that his gyms are on course to make "a small pre-tax profit" in the current year.

Ben Dunne Gyms operates the Westpoint, Northwood, Carlisle, Lucan and Jervis Street gyms in Dublin, with Sandyford opening in December, along with the Switch Island gym in Liverpool.

Mr Dunne also confirmed he pocketed around €500,000 from the sale of his 76% share in three gyms in Germany in 2011.

Mr Dunne confirmed that his gyms have 40,000 members and stated that the opening of two gyms in Britain, in Liverpool and Manchester, and one in Dublin this year will bring the numbers employed from 100 to 130.