office2office seeks listing

office2office, a UK-based independent contract supplier of office consumables and related services, is seeking admission to the main market of the London Stock Exchange. Market analysts have put a price tag of around £70m on the business. The flotation will be effected by means of a placing of new and existing ordinary shares to institutional investors in the UK and certain European countries and provides an exit opportunity for funds managed by Gresham LLP, an investor in the business since December 2000. The net proceeds will be used to repay indebtedness.

Hawkpoint has been appointed sponsor and financial adviser and Panmure Gordon has been appointed broker and sole bookrunner. The directors believe the offering will enhance brand awareness, facilitate incentivisation of key management and provide more suitable, diversified ownership in preparation for continued growth.

Ray Peck, chief executive of office2office, said: “We have clearly demonstrated that we can achieve significant year-on-year growth since the management buyout in 2000. office2office is now ready for the next stage of its development and flotation is the natural progression. We believe the public market will provide us with significant opportunities to develop our business further, both organically and through selective acquisition.” Full details of the placing will be included in Listing Particulars to be published in June.

Gresham Trust backed Banner Business Supplies, which operates within the office2office group, in a £10m management buyout in January 2001. Banner was in the public sector as part of The Stationery Office (HMSO) until its privatisation in 1996.