hotel chocolat angus thirlwell


Premium chocolate retailer Hotel Chocolat has firmed up its £150m flotation plans with official documents filed this morning to the London Stock Exchange.

The luxury chocolatier unveiled its ambitions to become a listed business in March, with CEO Angus Thirwell telling The Grocer it would use the money raised to push on with its UK store expansion.

The ‘schedule 1’ admission document did not contain any details on how much capital would be raised in the IPO or the expected value of the business.

Hotel Chocolat will joined the junior AIM exchange in early to mid-May, the document added.

Thirwell said in March the move was likely to value Hotel Chocolat at about £150m with hopes to sell one-third of the business for £50m. The CEO, along with partner Peter Harris, will take home £20m each, with the remaining £10m to be used to expand its network of 84 shops, increase manufacturing capacity and launch a new website with enhanced mobile compatibility.

The float will be the first major food and drink listing since Fever-Tree got away a £93m IPO in November 2014. United Biscuits, Moy Park and, more recently, Brakes have all flirted with flotations in the two years before selling to private overseas buyers.

Former boss of Lush Andrew Gerrie is leading the IPO process for the business after being made non-executive chairman earlier this year.

Hotel Chocolat returned to profitability in the year ended 28 June 2015 after ditching its costly trial into the US and taking tighter hold of costs. Pre-tax profits leapt to £3m from a £7m loss in 2013/14 as group sales increased 10.2% to £81.1m, with five million transactions and a £15 average transaction value.