SSP hopes to raise £500m with listing

FOOD outlet operator SSP plans to raise around £500m when it floats on the London stock market, paving the way for chief executive Kate Swann to return to a FTSE listed company.SSP operates 1,981 branded food and beverage outlets including Caffe Ritazza and Whistlestop in airports and railway stations in 29 countries.The group, which serves around one million customers a day and employs some 30,000 staff, is venturing on to the stock market at a tricky time, with two IPOs recently pulled due to market volatility and others trading below their list price.SSP said it expected to issue new shares in the coming weeks and would use the proceeds to pay down debt. It also plans to refinance its existing debt.“An IPO is the appropriate next step for a business of SSP’s calibre, size and international scale and we believe that we are well-placed for life as a listed company,” said Ms Swann, who has 25 years experience in retail, including 10 as the head of WH Smith.The company said the offer would enable existing shareholders including EQT to partially realise their investment. However the company, EQT and other shareholders will agree to certain lock-ups over their holdings.

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