The énergie Group, which operates almost 100 clubs across five countries and serves more than 90,000 members, had already granted rights to Abbey for the Leinster region following the acquisition of nine clubs in 2010 which saw énergie become a minority shareholder in the Irish énergie clubs business. Commenting on the deal énergie Chairman Jan Spaticchia said "we are thrilled to be partnering with such a dynamic organisation as Abbey International Finance and have been hugely impressed with both their understanding of the local market and commitment to establishing énergie as the clear market leader in Ireland. We look forward to working with the Abbey team over this very exciting period".
In preparation for expansion Abbey has now assembled a world class leadership team to drive the expansion strategy. UK industry veteran Innes Kerr has moved from his position as Operations Director of the énergie Group in the UK, to take up the position of Managing Director in Ireland with responsibility for operations across the énergie brand portfolio. Innes, who joined énergie five years ago and previous to this oversaw the roll out of 90 clubs over three years for Fitness First, has spent the last year in Ireland on secondment from énergie.
Acquisitions and franchise rollout will be headed by Jim Durie who joined énergie seven years ago as a master franchisee and led the team that established énergie as the market leader in Scotland. Jim has already established a solid pipeline for growth and recently led on the acquisition of two Fitness First clubs in Newton Abbey & Colraine that will now be rebranded as énergie Fitness Clubs. This will be closely followed by a new club opening at the prestigious City Gate Park in Mahon Point, Cork which will open in January 2014.
Innes and Jim will work closely with John Prosser, Managing Director of Abbey who has led the investment strategy for énergie Ireland over the last three years. John, a well-respected figure in the Dublin business community commented: “Abbey has already invested [8m] in establishing the énergie brand in Ireland and over the next three years we expect to be investing significantly more with a target of 30 new clubs which will create at least 250 new jobs. I am proud of what we have achieved to date and have no doubt that in the next three years we will see the énergie brand become an Irish household name”.
The énergie brand has already grown substantially under Abbey’s stewardship and with 14 clubs already operating  staff employed across the group and a membership of almost 19,000, the team has firmly established énergie as the market leader in the Irish market place. énergie has already captured the imagination of the people of Ireland with an acclaimed TV advertising campaign* and its famous empower 4 Week Results Guaranteed Programme and is now poised to dominate the Irish health and fitness industry.