Jessops drops flotation plans on poor response

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The Independent Online

JESSOPS, THE specialist photographic retailer, yesterday said it had abandoned its stock market flotation, scheduled for this month, after failing to secure a high enough price for the business.

JESSOPS, THE specialist photographic retailer, yesterday said it had abandoned its stock market flotation, scheduled for this month, after failing to secure a high enough price for the business.

The Leicester-based group had set an indicative price range of 160p to 210p, giving a mid-point valuation of £94.5m. But despite visiting over 70 institutional investors in the UK and Europe, it was unable to obtain enough support to float at the top end of the range, as it had hoped.

Tim Brookes, Jessops' chairman, said: "We were getting indications that the market was going to undervalue the business and we were not prepared to see that happen ... Yes, we wanted a flotation. But not at any cost." Asked whether he would consider returning to the market at a later date, the chairman said: "I think we have to reflect on this." If the listing had gone ahead, Mr Brookes would have retained a 6 per cent share of the business, valued at around £5.67m.

Paul Smiddy, an analyst at Crédit Lyonnais Securities, said he had not recommended that people buy into the float. He added: "Retail stocks are not the flavour of the month and Jessops is perceived as vulnerable to a consumer spending downturn."

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