Drinks being poured into shot glasses

A chain of bars infused with the revolutionary spirit of Cuba is the latest company to join the pre-election rush to float on the London Stock Exchange as it looks to raise funds for a major expansion.

Revolution Bars Group declined to say how much it wanted to raise from listing on the main market. It plans to expand its five themed Revolución de Cuba bars to 40, and its other vodka bars from 53 to 100, at a rate of five venues a year.

Alchemy Partners, the private equity group that owns Revolution Bars, took the company private in 2005 when it traded as Inventive Leisure on London’s AIM.

The buyout firm intends to cash out its holding in the stock market listing, which will not raise any new money.

Revolution Bars reported revenues of £58m and adjusted earnings of £7.9m for the six months to December 31.

As part of its plans to float, Revolution Bars has recruited Keith Edelman, former managing director of Arsenal FC and current chairman of Goals Soccer Centres, as non-executive chairman. He will be joined on the board by Michael Shallow, former finance director of pub chain Greene King.

It also intends to adopt a progressive dividend policy.

Revolution Bars is the latest company to try and go public ahead of May’s general election.

Last week, John Laing, the British infrastructure group, priced its shares at the very bottom of its range ahead of its listing, reflecting a weakening investor enthusiasm for London’s initial public offerings market. Earlier this month, Wizz Air, the Budapest-based budget carrier, revived its London flotation plans just seven months after scrapping them due to market uncertainty.

Revolution Bars has refitted its bars and revamped its menus, moving away from flogging cheap booze to serving fresh food and handmade cocktails as it seeks to target more upmarket customers. It now generates 25 per cent of its pre-10pm sales from food.

“You can’t do that forever,” said Mark McQuater, chief executive, referring to the cheap booze model.

He added: “The look of the bars is much softer, there’s approximately 60 per cent female customers, it’s the story of how you can take a brand and evolve it to more contemporary, affluent society.”

Mr McQuater said the Cuba-themed bars, which serve rum-based cocktails and offer live Latin American music, will receive most of the company’s future investment as it seeks to roll out the model in cities across the UK.

Get alerts on IPOs when a new story is published

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019. All rights reserved.
Reuse this content (opens in new window)

Follow the topics in this article