Flotation planned by airport and station bar operator

sloe bar

SSP Group, which operates bars, restaurants and cafés in stations and airports, aims to raise up to £500million by floating on the London Stock Exchange.

Planning to issue shares in the coming weeks, the company intends to use the funds to support future growth and reduce debt.

It operates 1,981 branded food and beverage outlets in travel locations across 29 countries in the UK, the rest of Europe, North America, Asia Pacific and the Middle East.

A spin-off of catering operator Compass Group, it owns brands such as Caffè Ritazza and Upper Crust and has a portfolio of bars in London such as The Beer House at Paddington and Waterloo stations, Sloe Bar (pictured) at Victoria, Paddington and Euston stations, and The City Bar & Grill at City Airport.

It also operates Cabin bar at Waterloo station which it acquired from Corney & Barrow Bars last year.

Chief executive Kate Swann, who joined SSP Group last year from WH Smith, said: “An IPO is the appropriate next step for a business of SSP’s calibre, size and international scale and we believe that we are well-placed for life as a listed company.”

Non-executive chairman Vagn Sørensen added: “SSP has proved itself to be a robust and resilient business that is capable of consistently delivering profitable growth.

“It benefits from a number of favourable trends, including rising air and rail passenger numbers, increasing consumer spend, and ongoing investment in travel infrastructure around the world.”

Its non-executive directors include Ian Dyson, the former chief executive of pub company Punch Taverns, who is also a non-executive director of Intercontinental Hotels Group as well as Punch Taverns.

Lucy Knowles, former managing director of Corney & Barrow Bars, joined SSP UK last year as chief marketing officer to drive the premium bar sector of the business.

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