Decision on Halfords’ IPO due soon

CVC Capital is rumoured to be planning the flotation of portfolio company Halfords, the UK car parts and bicycle retailer.

Discussions over the proposed IPO, which could see the company valued at between £800m and £1bn, are expected to take place on May 7, 2004, with the flotation scheduled for June.

It is expected CVC European Equity Partners Fund II will make between £400m and £500m from the IPO.

CVC acquired Halfords for £427m (€665m) in August 2002 from Boots. Halfords refinanced its debt in December 2003 when it repaid £163m as well as returning nearly half the original equity stake of CVC. This left the company with a net debt of £270m compared with almost £400m at the time of the buyout.

Halfords was set up in 1892 as a hardware store in Birmingham and became a limited company in 1965. It was acquired by the Burmah Group in 1969. The Ward White Group purchased the business in 1984 before The Boots Company bought it, along with DIY chain Payless and AG Stanley, owner of wallpaper chain Fads, in a £900m deal in 1989.

CVC is currently investing its CVC European Private Equity Partners III fund, which reached final close in June 2001 on €4.65bn and is over 50% committed. It recently acquired Modular NV, a Belgian lighting company.