Canadian Pizza forecasts 3.15m pounds

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The Independent Online
CANADIAN PIZZA, the Manchester baker celebrated for selling pizzas to the Italians, forecast pre-tax profits of pounds 3.15m this year as it heads to the stock market.

That compares with pounds 2.2m last year, and pounds 1.7m in the half-year to the end of June.

The company will be valued at about pounds 30m when it floats via a placing and a public offer next month. That is pounds 10m less than expected at the time the listing was announced.

At the launch of a pathfinder prospectus yesterday, Ron Bolger, finance director, said the board decided the company did not need to raise an extra pounds 10m to finance a new plant in France, as cash generation would be sufficient to fund the expansion.

Canadian Pizza makes 40 million pizza crusts a year, primarily for retail multiples such as J Sainsbury. It also sells toppings and cooking equipment. It won a Queen's Award for Export in June.

It was founded by Harry Kent, deputy chairman, in 1985 in association with Gino Molinaro, a Canadian-Italian pizza crust maker. Mr Kent, who had a traditional pie- making business, was looking for new areas for expansion.

Mr Molinaro was bought out 18 months ago in a buyout backed by Murray Johnstone and 3i that valued the company at pounds 15.6m. Mr Kent owns just under 20 per cent of the company. None of the directors is selling shares in the issue.

The issue's price, to be announced on 3 November, is likely to value the shares at about 15 times earnings. Analysts said that a slight premium to the food sector reflected the company's growth prospects.