Carter & Carter, the support services provider to the car industry, is set to become the first company to float on the main London market this year. The move would see its founder and chief executive, Phillip Carter, crystallise about £8m of his 46 per cent holding.
The company, which is 47 per cent owned by Bridgepoint, the venture capital group, hopes to raise between £45m and £50m from the float, and would have a market value of about £80m. It plans to use the proceeds from the float to pay down existing shareholders and debt, and fund future growth.
C&C trains and provides people for the car manufacturing and dealing industries, and was founded in 1992. It doubled in size 18 months ago when it bought Emtech, an apprenticeship learning group which provides training to people moving into the car dealing industry.
Bridgepoint, which has invested about £10m in the business over the past four years, intends to make a complete exit through the flotation, and stands to make up to £30m profit.
Mr Carter says he is selling part of his holding to provide a sufficient free float for the stock. He reassured investors that he plans to be a long-term investor. "I don't see myself as a seller. I think the value in the business is in the long-term," he said.
The remainder of Mr Carter's holding, which will amount to about 25 per cent of the listed business, will be subject to a standard 12-month lock-in clause.
The flotation, to which ABN Amro Rothschild have been appointed advisers, is planned for the first half of February and the group will begin marketing the initial public offering in 10 days' time. It said it had already received good levels of interest from potential investors.
Mr Carter said he opted for the main London market over the junior AIM as he believed the company would "outgrow" AIM relatively quickly.