Elior aims for summer return to Paris stock market

Reuters - UK Focus

* Elior was first listed in 2000 and de-listed in 2006

* Elior looking for shareholders to back growth strategy

* Elior's listing seen among largest in Paris in 2014

By Noëlle Mennella

PARIS, March 4 (Reuters) - Caterer Elior said on Tuesday itwould return to French stock market by the summer after aneight-year absence, in an estimated 4 billion euro ($5.51billion) flotation that could be one of the largest on the Parisbourse this year.

"Elior confirms (it is) preparing a stock market listing onEuronext Paris by Summer 2014," a company spokesman said.

"We must find shareholders to back the group's growthstrategy," he added, without elaborating.

Last month a source with knowledge of the matter had saidthat Charterhouse Capital Partners, which owns 62.4 percent ofElior, had selected banks to handle a stock market listing ofElior later this year.

The same source told Reuters on Tuesday that Rothschild wasadvising Elior on the sale while Deutsche Bank (Xetra: DBK.DE - news) , JPMorgan (Other OTC: MGHL - news) , HSBC and Credit Agricole (TLO: ACA.TI - news) would handle it.

Founded in 1991, Elior is the third-largest contract catererby revenue in Europe after France's Sodexo (Frankfurt: SJ7.F - news) andBritain's Compass.

The company was first listed in 2000 and de-listed in 2006,when British private equity group Charterhouse Capital Partners bought it for 2.5 billion euros.

Elior had estimated revenue of around 5 billion euros in2013 against 4.5 billion in 2012, and a sale could value Eliorat about 4 billion euros, according to previous media reports.

This would make Elior's one of the largest new listings onthe French bourse this year along with that of Coface, the tradecredit insurance unit of French bank Natixis (Paris: FR0000120685 - news) , andpossibly SFR, the mobile phone unit of Vivendi (TLO: VIV.TI - news) , whichis also looking for potential buyers.

Elior, which employs 103,000, generates 56 percent of itssales in France and has growth abroad through targetedacquisitions.

Elior has a contract arm which provides catering tobusinesses, schools and hospitals and accounts for around twothirds of the firm's overall business. It also has a concessionsbusiness which serves airports, railways and motorways.

Charterhouse had looked at a potential sale of Elior lastyear.

Elior co-founder Robert Zolade has 24.7 percent, andChequers Capital holds 7.8 percent. The remaining 5.2 percent isowned by other investors.

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