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THE GUARDIAN (UK) – Luxury chocolatier Hotel Chocolat is planning a flotation valuing the company at £150m to raise funds to step up expansion in the UK and online, and develop its manufacturing plant in Oxfordshire.
Founders Angus Thirlwell and Peter Harris, who each own half of the business, plan a £50m placing on the London Stock Exchange’s Aim by the end of June, which will raise £10m and hand them £20m each in cash.
Hotel Chocolat, which started in 1993, has more than 80 stores in the UK and three in Copenhagen, and also sells its luxury chocolates online. The brand has a cocoa plantation on St Lucia, which is home to a luxury hotel where a two-week stay costs up to £10,000.
The plantation is currently a separate company under the same ownership, but it will be acquired by the main group prior to the listing.
Hotel Chocolat has sales of £81.1m and makes an underlying pre-tax profit of £7.9m.