Easyjet founder says to open budget gyms

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British tycoon Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the founder of no-frills airline easyJet, said Wednesday that he planned to open budget gyms across Europe by taking advantage of low property prices.

Stelios said that his private investment vehicle easyGroup would start a new venture, easyGym, in partnership with private-equity backed Fore Fitness.

"Together with Fore Fitness and their investors we will aim to offer value for money in this sector," Stelios said in a statement.

Membership would cost about 15 pounds (18 euros, 23 dollars) a month and users would be able to sign up for monthly contracts as opposed to agreements that tie them down for at least one year.

The first easyGym was expected to open early next year, while the brand would shun swimming pools and saunas.

"This is not the first time the idea of a gym chain came up, but the stars are aligned now, because the real estate market is so soft," Stelios added.

© 2010 AFP

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