'No money available' to refund gym members

Members of troubled gym chain California Fitness yesterday received letters telling them there is currently no money available to refund them following the closure of its branches here.

Ferrier Hodgson, the liquidators for the chain's parent company J.V. Fitness, also sent them a proof of debt form to file their claims and is planning to sell off the gym's assets.

California Fitness closed down its Raffles Place branch on July 16, followed by its Novena and Bugis outlets on July 20, leaving members high and dry after having paid thousands upfront in membership fees.

Mr Tim Reid, a partner at Ferrier Hodgson, confirmed that there are currently no funds available for refunds and said that the firm is sending e-mails to the gym's 23,000 members.

Mr Reid also said J.V. Fitness has no secured creditors. However, among the unsecured creditors, there are preferential ones such as the gym's employees and the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore.

The gym's members form a "very big proportion" of the unsecured creditors and the amount owed is a "very big number", said Mr Reid.

Ferrier Hodgson placed an advertisement in The Business Times on Wednesday stating that the liquidators are seeking expressions of interest from those who wish to purchase the gyms as turnkey operators.

The advert mentioned only the Raffles Place and Bugis outlets, and listed facilities and equipment such as free weights, exercise machines, studios, steam rooms and saunas.

Mr Reid said: "We have not reached an agreement with the Novena landlords at present."

Registrations of interest must be lodged with the liquidators by Aug 3. A High Court hearing is set for Aug 12 where the provisional liquidators will report their findings to the High Court and the creditors upon completing their assessment.

Correction note: This story has been updated for clarity.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 29, 2016, with the headline ''No money available' to refund gym members'. Print Edition | Subscribe