Business

Spire Healthcare hospital chain to float on stock market

Hospital ward.

The UK's second largest private hospital chain, Spire Healthcare, has announced plans to list on the London Stock Exchange in a float expected to value the group at about £1bn.

Spire, which is owned by private equity firm Cinven, operates 39 hospitals and 13 clinics across England, Wales and Scotland.

The flotation is expected to take place in July.

The group hopes to raise £315m and will use the money to reduce its debts.

Spire was founded in 2007 following the acquisition and rebranding of 25 hospitals from Bupa.

Last year, Spire reported revenues of £764.5m and earnings of £209m.

Rob Roger, Spire chief executive, said: "We have already invested £509m in our hospital estate over the last seven years and have ambitions to grow and invest further.

"Bringing Spire to the public markets will enable us to access capital, if required, to realise our growth strategy, thereby providing more patients with access to our services."

Flotation frenzy

The flotation will be the latest in a line stock market debuts since the beginning of the year.

In the first five months of 2014, 67 companies raised £13.6bn, according to market data firm S&P Capital IQ, up from £3.6bn in the same period last year.

On Monday, motoring group the AA launched on the London Stock Exchange, while last week Lloyds Banking Group floated a 35% stake in its TSB business on the stock market.

However, shares in some of the companies floated on the market - including AO World, Pets at Home, Saga and Just Eat - are now trading below their original listing price.

In addition, clothing retailer Fat Face and budget airline Wizz Air scrapped their plans for share listings. Fat Face cited poor market conditions as the main reason for cancelling its plans to float.

Easyhotel

The Spire flotation announcement came as budget hotel group Easyhotel announced details of its listing on London's junior market - the Alternative Investment Market.

The firm has priced its shares at 80p each, valuing the company at £50m.

Easyhotel will float on 30 June and said it expected to raise £30m from the share sale, which would allow it to invest in expanding its hotel chain.

Easyhotel's founder, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, said the stock market float would also allow him to step back from the company, although added he expected to "remain a significant and supportive shareholder for a very long time".

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