United on way back to market

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UNITED CARRIERS, the parcels and freight distribution group, will be valued at pounds 51.8m when it makes its stock market debut next month. The company is raising pounds 6m of new money, net of expenses, in the placing at 153p a share. The price represents 15 times United's earnings last year before exceptional items, writes John Murray.

Forty-four per cent of the group's enlarged share capital is being sold, allowing an exit for venture capitalists who backed a management buyout from Bunzl in 1989.

The float marks a return to the list for the company, which was quoted until it was bought by Bunzl in 1985 for pounds 95m. It has undergone extensive rationalisation, and last year made pounds 5.3m operating profit before exceptional items.

The senior management team, led by Allan Binks, the chairman, owned 32 per cent of the company before the placing.