GE Capital muscles into Planet Fitness

 The lender’s Franchise Finance business has arranged a $59 million credit facility for PF Growth Partners, one of the largest nationwide franchisees of the US sports club.  

GE Capital’s Franchise Finance business has issued a $59 million credit facility for PF Growth Partners, a large US franchisee of Planet Fitness sports clubs. The funds will be used to refinance PFGP’s existing debt and fund its growth plans. GE Capital Markets served as sole lead arranger and sole bookrunner on the facility, the firm announced this week (2 March).

Based in Timonium, Maryland, PFGP operates 28 clubs in Maryland, Tennessee and Florida, and has plans to open eight to 10 additional locations per year. In November 2014, PFGP also received $35 million in financing from Alaris Royalty Corporation, a Canadian private equity firm.

“This new facility with GE Capital improves our capital structure and positions us to significantly expand our presence across our development territories,” Victor Brick, chief executive of PFGP, said in a statement.

Founded in 2008 by Victor and Lynne Brick, PFGP has grown to become one of the largest franchise groups in the Planet Fitness system, with 450 employees.

“As one of the largest lenders to franchise operators, particularly in the restaurant space, we’re in a great position to extend our expertise to support growing fitness club franchisees,” Bill Kraus, a senior managing director with GE Capital Franchise Finance, said in a statement. “We’ve also worked through our GE Antares Capital colleagues to build a strong relationship with Alaris, which helped us provide a solution that works for all parties involved.”

Founded in 1992 in Dover, New Hampshire, Planet Fitness has 900 locations across the US.

GE Capital’s Franchise Finance is a lender for the US franchise market via direct sales and portfolio acquisitions. It specializes in financing mid-market operators with multiple stores, mainly in the restaurant and hospitality industries. The division has $6 billion in capital under management.