Monday 16 December 2019

Booming markets prompt four companies to seek London IPOs

Terry Leahy
Terry Leahy

British discount retailer B&M is to list shares on the stock market, the biggest of four companies to announce plans for London initial public offerings yesterday.

Several people familiar with the matter said that the listing could value the company at anything from £2.5bn to in excess of £3bn.

London has seen a massive surge in activity in recent months, with 30 companies raising £4.38bn in the year so far, up 163pc on last year.

Hungarian airline Wizz Air, property website Zoopla and UK asset adviser River and Mercantile also unveiled plans yesterday for London IPOs.

B&M, which sells everything from trampolines to barbecues, said it would raise gross proceeds of £75m.

"The reception we're getting is extremely encouraging. We believe investors are attracted to the scarcity value (of discount retailers)," said chief executive Simon Arora, one of the two brothers who acquired the chain in 2004.

"To put it bluntly, you can't buy shares in Aldi or Lidl."

Arora said that the company was targeting 850 stores across the UK, from 373 at the end of its last financial year, and would open around 40 stores annually.

B&M has been owned by US private equity fund Clayton Dubilier & Rice since 2012 and had adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of £130m in the year to the end of March 2014.

The board is chaired by former Tesco chief Terry Leahy. The company has also appointed a raft of executives including Thomas Hubner, former CEO of Metro AG's Cash and Carry business.

This year B&M acquired a German subsidiary, JA Woll, which Arora said would continue to grow at its current pace of around two stores a year.

Irish Independent

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