September 20, 2018 / 2:47 PM / a month ago

Technogym targets content fix for fitness fans to sustain growth

* Technogym CEO looks to build digital platform and displays

* Top-end treadmill costs up to $15,000

* Posts 4.7 pct rise in first-half EBITDA to 44.9 mln euros

* Revenue up 3.6 pct at current FX rates to 272.9 mln euros

By Giulia Segreti

MILAN, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Italy's Technogym is looking to offer fitness fanatics more content via exercise equipment screens or their personal devices, its founder and chief executive said on Thursday.

Nerio Alessandri, who started off the high-end gym equipment company in the northern Italian town of Cesena at the beginning of the 1980s, said Technogym would continue to invest to offer more training programmes, including sport-specific ones, as well as live and on-demand services.

"We are working on our digital platform and intelligent displays, filling them with new content," Alessandri told Reuters, without detailing any collaborations or partnership.

Technogym supplies individuals, firms like Ferrari and Facebook, some 80,000 sports centres worldwide including popular Virgin Active clubs and the gyms of high-end hotels such as Hyatt and Marriott as well as banks including JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs.

Its state-of the art equipment is also found in the houses of celebrities, with a personalised, designer, polished aluminium treadmill costing almost $15,000.

LUXURY WELL-BEING

Alessandri, who says he was first to introduce the concept of "wellness" some 25 years ago, now sees well-being as a true luxury for the people in the future as obesity, diabetes and diet-related problems grow worldwide.

Technogym's full-year results would be in line with its plans for sustainable and profitable growth and its focus will remain on organic growth rather than acquisitions, he said.

"Today we cannot give certain forecasts, we don't like making promises, but sales and profit growth this year will be in line with plans," Nerio Alessandri told Reuters, adding that Technogym's growth in the last 30 years had been "constant".

In the last two years, Technogym sales have grown annually in the high single-digit range, outperforming analysts' expectations of lower revenue growth. The price of its Milan-listed shares has almost tripled since its IPO in 2016.

"We cannot think in the short term as the technology we develop for our products needs time," Alessandri said, adding he preferred higher margins to larger sales figures.

The company earlier posted a 4.7 percent rise in first-half earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) to 44.9 million euros, while revenue grew 3.6 percent at current exchange rates to 272.9 million euros.

Technogym shares were down 1.4 percent at 1233 GMT, underperforming Milan's all-share index. (Reporting by Giulia Segreti Editing by Alexander Smith)

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