Ben Dunne to drop profitable sugary drinks at gyms

Businessman Ben Dunne says he wants to stop selling high-sugar soft drinks from the vending machines at his gyms.

Ben Dunne to drop profitable sugary drinks at gyms

Businessman Ben Dunne says he wants to stop selling high-sugar soft drinks from the vending machines at his gyms.

Mr Dunne told the Irish Examiner that operating profit across all the gyms he owns rose to €3.8m on total revenues of €11m they generated in the 12 months to the end of May last year.

He said the number of members using the gyms has since risen by 20% to 53,000, and he expected operating profit to reach €5m in the current financial year.

Mr Dunne said the business generates €10,000 a week in sales from a range of products in vending machines across his gyms.

However, he said “drinks with high sugar content are regarded as the new tobacco” and that he was now thinking of dropping sugary drinks from sale at the gyms.

“This is not about profit at all costs. I don’t believe these drinks are a bit healthy and I am very much in favour of not having them for sale in our vending machines.”

Mr Dunne said he takes no salary from the business, claiming he does it “for fun”.

Accounts for Barkisland Developments Ltd, which only cover a small number of the gyms, show the business owed Mr Dunne €7.57m in interest-free loans at the end of May last year.

The business repaid Mr Dunne €629,370 during the year, according to the accounts.

There were 63 staff at a cost of €1.8m employed at the gyms covered by Barkisland company. Mr Dunne said his expansion plans are in the Dublin area.

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