August 27, 2013 9:43 am

Foxtons sets out plans for IPO

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 30: A general view of a To Let sign next to property near Clapham on January 30, 2013 in London, England. According to a report from independent analysts Oxford Economics, the average mortgage deposit for first-time buyers in London, is likely to exceed £100,000 GBP by 2020.©Getty

Foxtons confirmed its intention to launch an initial public offering as the London-focused estate agent set out plans to offer new shares and raise £55m in order to pay down the remainder of its debt.

BC Partners, the private equity group that controls the British business, will sell some of its shares through one of its entities, while directors would also be allowed to sell shares.

Shares are expected to begin trading in September, with the company set to have a free float of around half the issued share capital. Credit Suisse and Numis are joint bookrunners and Canaccord Genuity and Rothschild are also helping with the float.

Foxtons – famous for its green Mini Coopers – was bought by BC Partners at the height of the housing boom in 2007 for £360m in a highly leveraged deal, but the business went through a debt restructuring three years later after financial problems brought on by the banking crisis.

The private equity group had to cede its majority shareholding but regained control of the business last year after a further injection of funds and the repurchasing of debt.

Foxtons, founded in 1981, operates predominantly in the London housing market. It made first-half revenues of £62.6m and adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of £19.4m, up 14.3 per cent on the same period last year.

Private equity-owned Countrywide, the UK’s biggest estate agency by revenues, in March executed a successful flotation amid rebounding interest in housing. That followed the return to market of Crest Nicholson, the upmarket housebuilder, in February.

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