Iceland Foods returns to public markets after completing refinancing

ICELAND Foods, which was founded by Yorkshire born entrepreneur Malcolm Walker, has returned to the public markets after completing a £950m refinancing, it was confirmed yesterday.

Investment bank Rothschild advised Iceland on the refinancing, which will lead to a tranche of high yield bonds being traded on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange, the Sunday Telegraph reported.

An Iceland spokesman told the Yorkshire Post yesterday: “Iceland raised £950m in secured floating rate and fixed rate notes to replace borrowings and vendor loan notes from the 2012 management buyout in order to reduce borrowing costs, increase flexibility and give the company a longer term debt profile more closely aligned with management’s long term strategy.”

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Mr Walker who was born in Grange Moor, near Huddersfield, founded Iceland with a single small shop in Shropshire, selling loose frozen food.

In 1984, the company was floated on the stock exchange. By 2000, Iceland had £2bn of sales, 22,000 employees and over 700 shops.

Mr Walker stepped down as Iceland CEO in 2001, but returned four years later. In 2012, he led a £1.5bn management buyout.

Today, Iceland has 833 stores in the UK with a presence in Ireland, Spain, Portugal and the Czech Republic.

Mr Walker told the Yorkshire Post last year: “I’m still a market trader at heart and because I’m still here, it’s run to my style..I believe in staff motivation.”