UK's Card Factory plans London listing

Written by Reuters | London | Updated: Apr 22 2014, 20:58pm hrs
British greeting cards retailer Card Factory plans to list its shares on London's stock market in May, joining a spate of store groups seeking flotations as the outlook for consumer spending improves.

The over 700 stores firm, majority owned by private equity group Charterhouse Capital Partners, said on Tuesday it expected to raise 90 million pounds ($151 million) from an offer of new and existing shares to institutional investors.

Card Factory, which focuses on the value and mid-market segments of Britain's 3 billion pounds-a-year greeting cards market, said at least 25 percent of its issued share capital would be freely tradable post flotation.

The firm said it sold over 285 million single cards in the year to Jan. 31 2014.

In that year, revenue grew 9.0 percent to 326.9 million pounds, while underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 9.2 percent to 80.4 million pounds at a margin of 24.6 percent.

Card Factory, which has opened about 50 stores a year for the past 10 years, expects that rate to continue and has a target of 1,200 stores in Britain and Ireland.

The firm said Geoff Cooper, the former chief executive of Travis Perkins and current chairman of Dunelm, would chair the business.

It intends to use all of the net proceeds from the share offer to reduce net debt, expected to be about 160 million pounds on admission.

UK retailers, including discount retailer Poundland , newsagent McColl's, petshop Pets at Home and online fashion retailer, have already listed in 2014.

Fat Face and B&M are among other store groups expected to come to market this year.