Duncan Bannatyne has started four very different companies. The son of a Glasgow steelworker, he left school with no qualifications and, after a brief spell in the navy, spent five years as a ‘beach bum’ in Jersey. It was there that Bannatyne started his first business in the early 1980s, selling ice cream. His first real success came with his next business, Quality Care Homes, started in 1986 with money from the sale of his three ice-cream vans. The company, then with 47 homes, was bought by Principle Healthcare for £46m in 1997. As well as Bannatyne Fitness, Bannatyne’s other recent ventures include Just Learning, ranked 26 on this year’s Fast Track 100. He set up Bannatyne Fitness in December 1996 when, recovering from a skiing injury, he was unable to find a decent gym near his home in Darlington. From the first health club in Ingleby Barwick, opened in October 1997, the company has grown to 23 clubs across Britain with more than 52,000 members. Sales have grown 134% a year from £1.2m in 1998 to £15.7m in 2001, when the company employed 453 people.
This profile reflects the company at time of publication and does not reflect any changes that may have subsequently occurred. Fast Track and its sponsors do not endorse, guarantee or recommend investment in any of the companies.