David Simmons, the chief executive, is widely credited with hauling the group back from the brink since 1993, and he says a float is essential to provide Somerfield with sufficient capital for its store-opening programme.
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Somerfield, the supermarkets group owned by the heavily indebted Isosceles, will float next month with a value of around pounds 500m. One in five of the shares will be marketed to private investors via share shops nationwide.