Market report: City can't get enough of Lebanese restaurants

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The £48 million float of Lebanese restaurants chain Comptoir Libanais has had the City licking its lips, so much so that institutions have been asking for seconds.

Comptoir’s founders Tony Kitous and Chaker Hanna, who owned 75% and 25%, have sold more shares than planned to satisfy investors’ appetites.

The pair have made £8 million together from the AIM listing after initially aiming for £4 million. 

Another £8 million will go towards expanding Comptoir from its current 15 restaurants.

City sources said demand for the listing from institutional investors was so strong that Kitous and Hanna were asked to offload more than planned.

Restaurants entrepreneur Jonathan Kaye has joined as a non-executive director. The Evening Standard understands Kaye’s family, behind chains including Prezzo, Ask and Zizzi, has invested £4.7 million in the IPO, equivalent to around 10% of the company.

Today, it said City heavyweight Schroders had snapped up 5.2% of the company. After the float, set for Tuesday, Kitous will retain 52% and Hanna 15%. 

The strong demand for the listing contrasts with yesterday’s dire Time Out debut, which saw the shares, already priced at the lower end of the range, dive 7%. The media group’s shares were 0.26p cheaper at 139.24p.

Another float kicking off was Irish venture capital firm Draper Esprit, whose shares rose 5p to 300p in its  £122 million AIM debut, which is a dual listing in Dublin. 

The float has raised £74 million for the company, which has previously invested in snack deliveries firm Graze and fashion start-up Lyst. It has been backed by star fund manager Neil Woodford and Baillie Gifford, as well as China Huarong Asset Management, which manages China’s investment.

Elsewhere, Hollywood Bowl unveiled its plans for a float, expected to value the ten-pin bowling operator at as much as £280 million, with private-equity owner Electra set to cash in.

Like the IPO market, the stock market has been choppy in the run-up to the EU referendum. But stocks ended four days of losses today as the FTSE 100 recovered 64.46 points to 5987.99, with banks and miners leading the revival.

A profit warning caused shares in IT firm Servelec to plunge 119p, or 35%, to 221p, exacerbated by downgrades from brokers Investec and N+1 Singer, previously buyers of the stock.

“Sector commentary led us to believe the market was slow, but we did not expect such a severe slowdown,” said Investec, of the problems in the healthcare sector.

Elsewhere, under pressure from its secured creditor Vodafone, Outsourcery, the embattled cloud business of former Dragons’ Den star Piers Linney, confirmed plans to appoint EY as administrators and sell the business to GCI. The shares were suspended.

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June 15, 2016 |
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