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PARIS, April 16 Europe's number-three catering group Elior announced plans to list 30-35 percent of the company in a mid-June initial public offering that would raise 700 million euros in new capital and could value the business at over 4 billion euros ($5.5 billion).
The company said it would use the proceeds of the capital increase to reduce debt, and that it expects to achieve 3.5 percent annual organic sales growth in the period from 2015 to 2017.
Founded in 1991, Elior is the third-largest contract caterer by revenue in Europe after France's Sodexo and Britain's Compass. Elior had estimated revenue of around 5 billion euros last year.
Based on the price-to-sales multiples of Sodexo and Compass of 0.66 and 0.92 times respectively according to Thomson Reuters data, a listed Elior could be worth between 3.3 billion and 4.6 billion euros.
The company was first listed in 2000 and de-listed in 2006 when Charterhouse Capital Partners bought it for 2.5 billion euros. The UK private equity group owns 62.4 percent of Elior, co-founder Robert Zolade has 24.7 percent, Chequers Capital holds 7.8 percent and the remaining 5.2 percent is owned by other investors.
Elior, which employs 103,000 staff, has a contract arm which provides catering to businesses, schools and hospitals and accounts for around two thirds of the firm's overall business. It also has a concessions business which serves airports, railways and motorways. ($1 = 0.7234 Euros) (Reporting by Matthieu Protard; Editing by James Regan and Andrew Callus)