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Regus listing to net founder pounds 600m

MARK DIXON, founder and chairman of Regus Business Centres, is set to find his majority stake in the serviced-office provider valued at pounds 600m after it yesterday unveiled plans is list on the London Stock Exchange this autumn.

In the proposed listing, which would value the company at about pounds 1bn, shares will be marketed solely to institutions and generate funds to underpin the firm's expansion, especially in the United States.

Under the plan, existing shareholders will retain their stakes, with potential investors offered new shares. The deal would cut Mr Dixon's current 82.5 per cent holding to about 60 per cent, worth about pounds 600m.

Peter Jenkins, the group finance director, said: "We've got strong cash flows ... but we would like to grow quicker, that is why we are seeking the listing." Regus says that it has taken leases on 59 new centres, which it will seek to open over the next 16 months. Between 1992 and the end of last month, it expanded from 11 centres in six countries to 211 centres in 42 countries.

Mr Jenkins said he expected to complete the listing by the middle of next month. Merrill Lynch International will act as sponsor, global co- ordinator and bookrunner on the deal. Deutsche Bank, which took an 8.75 per cent stake in Regus last August and Morgan Stanley International are joint lead managers to the offer.

Last year, Regus reported a pre-tax loss of pounds 9.2m (pounds 2.7m) on turnover of pounds 111.6m (pounds 58.8m) in 1997., up from pounds 58.8m in 1997.

Marylebone Warwick Balfour Group, the listed property group which runs 28 serviced-business centres in the UK, said that if the Regus float proved successful it would look at spinning off its own business-services division.

MWB's chief executive Richard Balfour-Lynn put the value of its centres at between pounds 100m and pounds 125m.