Fine Decor goes to market

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THE SPATE of new issues and placings continued yesterday as Fine Decor, which designs, manufactures and distributes wallcoverings, announced its return to the market capitalised at pounds 26.2m, writes Topaz Amoore.

Shares in Fine Decor, the subject of a management buyout from Boots in 1989, will be placed at 210p by Samuel Montagu. The company plans to pay an annualised dividend of at least 7.5p for the year to 31 January 1994.

None of the directors, who will account for 29 per cent of the stock, are disposing of shares in the placing.

Harry Morgan, chief executive, said Fine Decor had resisted the recession - despite the stagnant housing market - through good-quality products and expanding international sales.

Retailers such as Fads, Texas, Do It All and Homebase are supplied by Fine Decor, whose operating profits rose from pounds 1.43m in 1991 to pounds 2.98m in 1992-3. Pre-tax profits were pounds 2.1m. Exports, particularly to the US and Canada, represented more than 40 per cent of the pounds 33m of sales last year. 'We now have 82 customers in 33 countries worldwide,' Mr Morgan said. 'In 1986 we had three export customers.' He added that Fine Decor's product range, which includes borders, bedwear, curtains and fabrics, was popular because of the growing trend for co-ordinated rooms. Its market share has doubled to 14 per cent since the MBO.

The company will use the pounds 4.6m raised in the placing to repay debt.