Bargain Booze plans to float will help expansion to the South


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The Independent Online

It sells cheap vodka, fags, crisps and pizza largely to punters in the North-West. But the group behind the Bargain Booze chain today said it plans to raise up to £65 million by listing on the stock market, which will net its private-equity backer a hefty windfall.

Conviviality Retail, which also operates the Thorougoods convenience stores, will use the proceeds from the flotation at the end of this month to expand beyond its Northern heartland into the South of England.

All of the group’s 611 stores are run by franchisees, and a key goal behind the float on Aim is to incentivise these shopkeepers through their participation in a share scheme.

ECI Partners acquired the group behind Bargain Booze in a deal worth £63.5 million — largely funded by debt — in 2006. The private equity firm will make up to three times its money by exiting via the flotation, which will leave Conviviality debt free.

Conviviality had profits of £12.5 million in the year to April. Chief executive Diana Hunter was previously at Waitrose and Sainsbury’s.