Trainline rail ticket firm in £500m stock market flotation

Waterloo station Image copyright Getty Images

Trainline, the online rail booking system, is to float on the London Stock Market in a deal expected to value the business at about £500m.

The company's private equity owners, which bought the business in 2006 for about £160m, want to list in February.

Trainline started life in 1997 as a division of Virgin Rail, selling tickets through a call centre.

The value of ticket sales last year was £978.1m, and Trainline said its apps have been downloaded 7.4 million times.

Private equity owners Exponent, Harbourvest and Northwestern Mutual Life Assurance will sell off part of their stakes in the business.

As part of the flotation they want to raise about £75m to pay off existing debt and settle bank costs and fees.

Clare Gilmartin, chief executive of Trainline, said: "We are witnessing continued strong growth in rail and, having experienced first-hand the transformative effect of online and mobile in other e-commerce markets, I am hugely excited by the opportunity that the fast-developing online rail market offers."

The owners of Trainline attempted to sell the business in 2012 for around £400m, with private equity firm KKR widely reported as a possible bidder.

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