Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Hotel Chocolat Group Plc, the U.K. luxury chocolate retailer, will be valued at 167 million pounds ($242 million) when it lists shares on London’s Alternative Investment Market next week.

The initial public offering will raise 55.5 million pounds, with existing shareholders taking out 43.5 million pounds and the company netting 12 million pounds to accelerate its expansion plan, Hotel Chocolat said in a statement Thursday. Joint founders Angus Thirlwell and Peter Harris will continue to own two-thirds of the company.

Founded in 1993, Hotel Chocolat has grown to become one of the U.K.’s best known purveyors of luxury chocolate. The retailer now has 84 stores and about 500,000 online customers. Money raised in the IPO will be used to expand its store network, manufacturing facilities and improve the digital offering, the company has said.

“We are delighted to have received such strong demand from investors,” said Thirlwell, whose father was one of the co-founders of the Mr Whippy ice cream brand.

The shares will be sold at 148 pence each, with trading due to commence on May 10.

Liberum Capital Ltd. is advising on the IPO.

To contact the reporters on this story: Paul Jarvis in London at pjarvis@bloomberg.net, Sam Chambers in London at schambers7@bloomberg.net. To contact the editors responsible for this story: Matthew Boyle at mboyle20@bloomberg.net.

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