The cigarette giant Imperial Tobacco is to list part of its business on the Spanish stock market.
Imperial said it planned to spin off its Logista division in a move that could value it at up to £1.5bn.
Logista distributes goods for customers, which include its parent company as well as pharmaceutical companies and publishers, to outlets such as bookshops, petrol stations and convenience stores across southern Europe.
Imperial inherited the business when it bought the Franco-Spanish cigarette maker Altadis in 2008. It plans to sell a tranche of shares to institutional investors, but will retain a majority stake following the flotation. Analysts said the float would free up cash and enable it to focus on its core cigarettes business.
Luis Egido Galvez, the chief executive of Logista, said the company would be returning to the stock market in Madrid for the first time since 2008.
He added: “During the past three financial years, we have been able to maintain a solid operating performance despite the general decline in tobacco volumes and the weak economic environment in the principal markets in which we operate. Cost efficiency measures and our geographical diversification across Spain, France, Italy and Portugal have helped offset any country-specific impact on our business.”
He is looking to expand the business further in sectors beyond tobacco.Reuse content