Eyewear retailer GrandVision plans Amsterdam listing-Reuters

(Reuters) – The owner of eyewear retailer GrandVision BV plans to sell a 20-25 percent stake in the business on the Amsterdam stock exchange, potentially worth more than 600 million euros ($710 million).

Bermuda-based HAL Trust, controlled by the wealthy Dutch Van der Vorm family, said on Monday the timing of the initial public offering (IPO) would depend on market conditions, but that it was expected in 2015.

A recent flurry of capital raisings on European equity markets bode well for more such deals, bankers involved in the transactions have told Reuters.

As of June 30, HAL had a book value of 2.45 billion euros for GrandVision, meaning a 25 percent stake could be worth more than 600 million euros.

KBC Securities analysts said GrandVision, which runs chains such as Vision Express in 34 countries, could have an enterprise value (equity plus debt) as high as 5.8 billion euros ($6.9 billion) if valued on a similar basis to peers. These include Italy’s Luxottica and Germany’s Fielmann.

HAL, an investment group which owns 98 percent of GrandVision, declined to provide details about the valuation.

GrandVision reported an operating profit of 223 million euros on 2.1 billion of sales in the first nine months of 2014.

Chief Executive Theo Kiesselbach said in a telephone interview the listing would raise the company’s profile with suppliers and customers, help it attract good employees and give it financial flexibility.

GrandVision has net debt of 834 million euros, which Kiesselbach said was an appropriate level for it to be able to fund future growth, pursue acquisitions and pay shareholders a dividend.

The company operates 5,600 stores under brands also including Apollo-Optik in Germany, Generale d’Optique in France and Pearle in the Netherlands, Belgium and Austria.

ABN AMRO and JP Morgan are coordinating the share offering.