June 10, 2014 / 4:30 PM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-EQT to announce listing of food operator SSP next week - sources

(Adds details on company and deal)

LONDON, June 10 (Reuters) - Swedish private equity firm EQT is planning to announce a London listing of food outlet operator SSP next week, two sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday, as the firm seeks to take a bite out of the listings market before the summer break.

Sources told Reuters at the beginning of the year that SSP, which owns brands including Caffe Ritazza and Whistlestop, could be valued at around 2 billion pounds ($3.4 billion) including debt in an initial public offering (IPO).

As well as its in-house brands, SSP also operates outlets for household names including M&S Simply Food, Starbucks and YO! Sushi.

EQT acquired SSP in 2006 and currently holds a 91 percent stake. The firm, which runs concessions in airports and train stations, had core earnings (EBITDA) of 153 million pounds last year, according to EQT’s website.

Sales totalled 1.83 billion pounds in 2013. The company has 29,500 employees and is headed by Chief Executive Kate Swann, formerly of WH Smith.

The flotation comes hot on the heels of French catering firm Elior, owned by private equity firm Charterhouse. Elior is set to list in France in a deal which could value the company at up to 2.8 billion euros.

The UK listings market has lost much of the froth seen earlier in the year, with many formerly red-hot IPOs now trading below issue price.

However major flotations are still in the pipeline, including UK bank TSB and the insurance arm of ING, expected to be the biggest in Europe so far this year.

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are leading the listing, with Lazard advising. EQT declined to comment, while SSP was not immediately available to comment.

$1 = 0.5956 British Pounds Reporting by Freya Berry; editing by Pamela Barbaglia

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