Health club operator Bannantyne Group has reported its best year ever for both turnover and pre-tax profits.

The group – which operates a club in Carlisle – reported an 8. 5 per cent increase in its turnover to £127.5 million and a £300,000 rise in pre-tax profits to £14.3 for the 12 months ending, December 31, 2018.

The group is currently in the final stages of a three-year £50m investment programme re-equipping and refurbishing sites around the UK. The club in Kingstown Road, Carlisle was one of the first to be improved, with a £500,000 investment made in 2017.

The group has also rolled out new app-based technology in its health clubs during the last year, which allows its members to monitor their fitness using personal electronic wristbands.

The results comes as high-profile owner Duncan Bannatyne OBE – who shot to fame as a business angel on the it TV programme Dragons' Den – returns to the frontline in the business.

His is changing his role to become executive chairman following the decision by the existing chief executive, Justin Musgrove, to take up a new career challenge in the Middle East.

Mr Bannatyne, who founded the company in 1997, said: “The business is in great shape, turnover is at a record high and profits are strong and sustainable.

“Our members are enjoying facilities, which have been enhanced with significant investments in new equipment, new technology and a wide range of new classes and services delivered by our exceptional team.

“We now expect this long period of investment to result in a business that will maintain further growth and profits as we continue to provide the sector-leading facilities and high-quality services our members and customers expect and deserve.”

Thanking Mr Musgrove for his contribution to the group during his five-year tenure, he added: “I am thrilled to be back at the frontline, leading the business at a time of great opportunity and excitement in the UK economy.”