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Pets at Home sets share price offer

By Press Association, 28 February 2014 6.00pm. Updated: 2 March 2014 9:28am.

Pets at Home confirmed it will be valued at up to £1.3 billion when it makes its stock market debut next month in the latest in a line of retail flotations.

The pet shop group has set its share price offer at between 210p and 260p a share, giving it an expected valuation of £1.05 billion to £1.3 billion and putting it on course to enter the FTSE 250 Index.

It also said that up to 15% of the shares being floated will be offered to the public, through intermediaries, as well as employees.

Around 500 members of staff own 10% of the pet retail business, which will now translate into an average of up to £260,000 each, though the holdings of senior executives are likely to be much larger than those of shop workers.

It adds to a long list of retail initial public offerings (IPOs) amid a bout of flotation fever on financial markets, with convenience store McColl's and online domestic appliances group AO having already listed and discount retailer Poundland also announcing plans for a share offer next month.

Bolton-based AO World's saw its shares surge 33% on its first day, rising from a float price of 285p - which valued the group at £1.2 billion - to 378p.

Pets at Home plans to raise around £280 million from its IPO to pay down debt.

It claims to have a 12% share of the market and more stores than its five biggest rivals combined.

But is keen to expand further, boosting its number of stores from 369 million to more than 500, while it wants to almost treble the small animal veterinary surgeries it operates to over 700.

The group also has 116 in-store Groom Room salons, but wants this to grow to more than 300. It says the UK pet care market is worth an estimated £5.4 billion.

Its listing comes 23 years after founder Anthony Preston opened the first Pets at Home store in Chester. Mr Preston retains a small stake in the group.

The business was then developed by private equity firms after its acquisition by Bridgepoint for £230 million in 2004 and then KKR, which acquired Pets at Home in a £955 million deal in 2010.

It recently said like-for-like revenues had grown 2.4% and underlying earnings by 11.1% to £87 million in the 40-week period to January 2. This is expected to reach not less than £110.2 million in the year to the end of March.

It has announced the appointment of four new board members ahead of the float including Halfords chairman Dennis Millard, who is to become deputy to Pets at Home chairman Tony DeNunzio.

Nick Wood, chief executive of Pets at Home, said: "We are excited about the opportunities for Pets at Home as a listed business."

"We believe the listing will provide us with the right platform for the next stage of the group's growth and development," he added.