(Adds CEO comment, Bridgepoint details)
LONDON May 1 British clothing chain FatFace
is to list on the London Stock Exchange in a
float that could value the company around 440 million pounds
($743 million) and help it cut debt ahead of its expansion into
The company, owned by European private equity group
Bridgepoint said on Thursday it aimed to raise 110
million pounds through the IPO, joining other British retailers
like Poundland and Pets at Home who have
listed this year to take advantage of firm equity markets.
FatFace had adjusted core earnings (EBITDA) of 31.2 million
pounds in its 2013 financial year. It has 208 stores with
316,700 square feet of retail space across the UK - not enough,
said Andrew Thompson, its chief executive.
"What we want to do is grow it. We want to go abroad," he
said, adding the firm would set up a dedicated U.S. website and
open two to three shops on the east coast of the United States
over the next 12 months.
Bridgepoint paid 360 million pounds for FatFace in 2007 from
rival private equity firm Advent, but the investment has proved
difficult as the retailer struggled to find its niche.
Bridgepoint subsequently injected three further investments of
25 million pounds each.
FatFace, known for its outdoors activewear, recently
abandoned attempts to target younger shoppers and returned to
its middle-aged core market - guided by former Marks and Spencer
head Stuart Rose, who joined it as chairman in 2013.
FatFace, whose two founders began by selling T-shirts from a
VW campervan in the French Alps, will use the new capital from
the IPO to cut debt to 60 million pounds and reduce associated
bank costs and fees.
Bridgepoint's 2007 investment in FatFace, which Thompson
said was split equally between debt and equity, was part of the
private equity house's 2.5 billion euro European Fund III.
Bridgepoint launched its latest fund, the 4.8 billion euro
European IV, in 2009.
The sale will be led by Citigroup and Jefferies, with
Canaccord Genuity as lead manager and Lazard as
Bridgepoint declined to comment.
($1 = 0.5922 British Pounds)
(Reporting by Freya Berry; Editing by Sophie Walker)