EQT plans listing of food outlet operator SSP, say sources-Reuters

(Reuters) – Swedish private equity firm EQT plans to list British food outlet operator SSP on the London Stock Exchange later this year, three people familiar with the matter said.

An initial public offering of SSP would come on the back of a strong 2013 for listings where private equity firms were a driving force, taking advantage of rising stock markets to sell assets.

Two of the people said SSP could be worth around 2 billion pounds ($3.3 billion) on an enterprise value basis and that a listing could potentially take place in June at the earliest.

EQT and SSP both declined to comment.

The process is at an early stage as EQT has not yet appointed any financial advisors, the people said, adding that the first step will be to pick an IPO advisor who will help hiring banks as bookrunners ahead of a listing.

SSP employs some 30,000 people and runs restaurants, cafés and bars in airports and railway stations, serving more than 1 million people per day in 30 countries. It owns brands such as Caffè Ritazza and Whistlestop.

The firm, which EQT bought in 2006, had sales of 1.74 billion pounds in 2012 and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of 139 million pounds, according to EQT’s website.

EQT in December listed bath and toilet maker Sanitec which has strongly outperformed the wider market after Sweden’s biggest IPO since 2006.
EQT is also preparing a listing of jointly owned Danish outsourcing firm ISS this year, according to sources.