Rapid growth at this Dorset-based health-club chain has delivered healthy returns to its owners. BC Partners bought Fitness First in 2005 for £835m, twice the £404m paid by the previous owner Cinven when it delisted the company from the London Stock Exchange in 2003. Fitness First opened its 500th club this year and now claims to be one of the largest gym and health-club operators in the world, with more than 1.4m members in 17 countries. Chief executive Colin Waggett has recently taken the company into India and is looking at acquiring sites in Russia. Sales were £463m in 2006.
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