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Belgravia Kids Chief Executive explains the acquisition of Jump! Swim Schools business
Belgravia Kids Chief Executive, Mark Collins has shared details of the Belgravia Group's acquisition of much of the Jump! Swim Schools franchise business last year.
Having purchased the franchise rights for more than 60 Jump! Swims schools in the second half of last year, the Belgravia Group recently revealed a 19% rise in enrolments.
However, while the swim school franchise brands has been saved, many small investors who had bought franchise have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Belgravia acquired the franchises of two companies - Swim Loops Pty Ltd (40 franchises) and Jump Loops Pty Ltd (20).
The rights were for sale after Swim Loops was placed in voluntary liquidation last May and Jump Loops Pty was placed into court appointed liquidation two months later.
Both companies were under the sole directorship of Gold Coast businessman Ian Campbell whose assets were frozen in connection with an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission action for allegedly contravening Australian consumer law that started last June in the Federal Court.
The case is still before the Federal Court with a hearing scheduled in Victoria in late April.
Speaking to Brisbane newspaper The Courier-Mail, Collins said they were still to assess the viability of a third of the franchises acquired although, so far, they had only rejected one.
He advised “there were about 65 franchises, although five of them did a deal with the liquidator before we came along, so there was effectively 60 that were trading that we purchased.
“We took 39 of the 40 (Swim Loops franchises) and the remaining 20 (Jumps Loops) we are currently working through … but we haven’t rejected any of (them).
“We came to terms with four sites to release them from their franchise agreements because there were some that were completely devastated by the whole situation.”
Before starting their assessment of each franchise, Collins and Belgravia Group Chairman Geoff Lord travelled the country speaking to franchise owners.
Among those they spoke candidly with, were small investors who had parted with significant sums of money for franchises but held nothing but a contract when it went into liquidation.
Noting the distress of many of these ‘mum and dad’ investors, Collins told The Courier-Mail that there was little they could do for those who had nothing to show for their money, commenting “the toughest people to meet were those that paid up everything and had nothing. There were about 100 of them. That’s been heartbreaking.
“We explained a model of how Belgravia could help in reducing some of the costs involved in a franchise but in reality the majority of people didn’t have anything left.
“It was tough talking to them. Some of those conversations were pretty emotional … we had to let people know we are not a white knight but we were going to try our best.”
Collins concedes there is work to be done to restore confidence in Jump! Swim Schools as a viable franchise investment, but notes many positive signs from a patronage perspective.
In the four months they have been officially in charge of the brand and its intellectual property, they have experienced double digit growth in enrolment numbers across the country.
Collins added “from a customer point of view it hasn’t had an effect on the business. Our enrolments are up 19% and that’s been the pleasing part of it.
“The biggest challenge, though, is to get new franchising later this year and making sure people know we are a formidable company that has a great track record with franchise businesses.”
Images: Jump! Swim School enrolments have jumped 19% over recent months (top), former Swim Loops and Jump Loops Director Ian Campbell is the subject of Australian Competition and Consumer Commission court actions (middle) and Ian Collins (below). All images supplied.
19th February 2020 - Belgravia Leisure’s accessible facilities saved communities more than $15 million
17th February 2020 - Belgravia Foundation breakfast event highlights two years of impacting communities
10th February 2020 - JUMP! Swim Schools experiencing solid growth
18th July 2019 - Belgravia Group steps in to avert Jumps swim schools liquidation
9th July 2019 - Second Jump Swim entity faces liquidation
14th February 2019 - Belgravia Kids opens first facility in Melbourne’s Hoppers Crossing
9th January 2019 - Jump! Swim School responds to media reports of dissatisfied franchisees
8th January 2019 - Media slam Jump! Swim Schools over dissatisfied franchisees
27th January 2017 - JUMP! Swim Schools welcomes 15,000 young swimmers
24th October 2016 - JUMP! Swim Schools named Emerging Franchisor of the Year
30th August 2016 - JUMP! Swim Schools to open more than 50 new franchises across Victoria
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