Card Factory plans to float

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The Card Factory today announced that it plans to float on the London Stock Exchange.

In a statement, the company confirmed that it intends to proceed with an initial public offering.

The company aims to trade on the main market of the London Stock Exchange.

The 700-store chain was founded by Dean Hoyle, the chairman and owner of Football League Championship side Huddersfield Town, who spent 13 years building up the business with his wife Janet. Charterhouse took a majority stake in the firm in April 2010 in a deal believed to be worth £350m, which generated a significant windfall for Mr and Mrs Hoyle.

The Card Factory sold more than 285 million single cards in the financial year ended January 31 2014. In that year, the group achieved revenue growth of nine per cent to £326.9m and underlying EBITDA growth of 9.2 per cent to £80.4m.

Geoff Cooper. who has been working with the board of Card Factory since January 2014 will be formally appointed non-executive chairman ahead of the IPO.

The group has also announced that Octavia Morley and David Stead will be appointed to the board as non-executive directors.

Richard Hayes, CEO of Card Factory, said: “Since opening our first store in 1997, we have firmly established Card Factory as the UK’s leading specialist retailer in the greeting cards market. The scale, resilience and continued growth of this market reflect the fact that the giving of physical cards is and will remain ingrained in UK culture. In addition our vertically integrated model, comprising in-house design, production and retail, gives us clear differentiation and allows us to provide exceptional value and quality for our customers while delivering best-in-class EBITDA margins. The success of our model is demonstrated through our track record of profitable growth, which includes unbroken like-for-like revenue growth in each year since our first store was opened.

“Our store roll-out strategy is well proven, with an average of 50 new store openings per annum over the past 10 years, and we see the potential for significant further store portfolio expansion in the UK and Republic of Ireland over the coming years. We also see the opportunity to gain a greater share of the online market for personalised cards and gifts through our existing presence, In recent years and under Charterhouse’s ownership, we have invested substantially in our business infrastructure to create a robust platform to support our future growth plans. Combined with our consistently strong cash generation, this puts us in an excellent place to capitalise further on our market leading position through a tried and tested business model and growth strategy.”