Owner of Hema high street stores group gears up for sale, IPO

Sunny times ahead? Photo: Hema

Lion Capital, owner of Amsterdam-based high street stores group Hema, is planning a sale or stock exchange launch of the company, Dutch media reported.

Lion, a UK venture capital group  bought Hema for just over €1.1bn in 2007. However Hema now has debt of €822m.

Lion is expected to make a ‘request for proposals’ this summer, spurring merchant bankers, lawyers and communications experts to action, the Telegraaf reported  on Saturday. Other media have since joined in.

The Telegraaf said Lion is hoping for a ‘home run’, a doubling of its initial investment, but observers are now saying €1.9bn is the highest Hema will fetch.

This is hardly the first time Lion has tried to offload Hema. At the end of 2010, Hema was nearly sold to supermarket chain Ahold which had plans to place their last-minute shopping unit AH to Go in Hema stores. But Ahold found Lion’s price too high and dropped out.

In 2014, Lion again attempted to sell Hema but it was not the best time in the retail sector.

But the situation now augurs well: the economy continues to boom, Hema booked record sales, cheap money is available to finance a takeover and buyers are prepared to pay record prices, the Telegraaf said. Moreover Hema must refinance its bonds before 2019.

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