Floor & Decor revives IPO plans: sources

ORLANDO, Fla. (Reuters) - U.S. flooring and tile products retailer Floor & Decor Holdings Inc is getting ready for an initial public offering that could value it at more than $1 billion, including debt, after it shelved such plans last year, people familiar with the matter said.

Floor & Decor, which has more than $100 million in 12-month earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, has interviewed investment banks to appoint underwriters for the IPO, the people said.

Floor & Decor's IPO preparations signal confidence in the recovering IPO market. Its rival Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc LL.N has been under pressure since March 2015, when a CBS "60 Minutes" report alleged that the company's laminate products sourced from China contained toxic levels of formaldehyde. Last year, Floor & Decor withdrew a registration for an IPO that it filed in 2014 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The people said the company has decided to seek new pitches from investment banks for an IPO this year.

The sources asked not to be named because the preparations are confidential. Floor & Decor and its private equity owners, Ares Management LP ARES.N and Freeman Spogli & Co, offered no comment.

In its earlier IPO plan, Floor & Decor had decided to list on the New York Stock Exchange. Underwriters included Bank of America Corp BAC.N, Goldman Sachs Group Inc GS.N, Barclays Plc BARC.L and JPMorgan Chase & Co JPM.N. More than five retailers went public in 2016, down from 12 the previous year, according to Thomson Reuters data. In recent months, however, stocks of retail companies have risen along with consumer optimism.

Smyrna, Georgia-based Floor & Decor provides tile, wood, laminate and natural stone flooring along with decorative accessories and operates 65 warehouse-format stores across the United States. Founded in 2000, Floor & Decor was acquired in 2010 for an undisclosed amount by Ares and Freeman Spogli from an investor group including Najeti Ventures LLC, Saugatuck Capital Co and TWJ Capital LLC. The company has been spared competitive pressures other retailers have faced from internet giant AMZN.O, since many consumers prefer to buy flooring and tools in person with expert guidance.

The flooring industry closely tracks the new housing and housing repair sectors. Demand for housing in the United States has been rising as a tightening labor market has lifted wages.

Floor & Decor’s everyday-low-pricing offerings should position it well in the current economic environment, credit ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service Inc said last September.

Reporting by Lauren Hirsch in Orlando, Florida; Editing by David Gregorio