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Hotel Chocolat to float on AIM

Wednesday March 9th 2016

Premium chocolatier Hotel Chocolat has announced plans to float on London's Alternative Investment Market.

With the admission expected to happen in the second quarter of 2016, the company is looking to raise approximately £50 million from the issue of new shares and the sale of existing shares by certain selling shareholders.

The proceeds will be used to accelerate Hotel Chocolat’s growth strategy which will include opening new stores, increasing the company’s UK manufacturing capacity, and improving its digital offering through a new website and enhanced mobile and tablet compatibility.

Hotel Chocolat sells its products online and through a network of 84 stores in the UK and overseas. In the year ended 28 June 2015, it reported revenues and EBITDA of £81.1 million and £7.9 million respectively.

Founded in 1993 by chief executive Angus Thirlwell with Peter Harris, the business has traded under the Hotel Chocolat brand since 2003. The company has a vertically integrated business model, spanning manufacturing and direct retailing and includes part of its cocoa supply coming from the Rabot Estate in St Lucia.

Thirlwell said: "Hotel Chocolat is built on our core values of authenticity, originality and ethical trading. We are very excited at the prospect of listing as it is the next logical step in our growth plans and will enable us to accelerate the many initiatives that we have in place, in particular additional investment in our British chocolate manufacturing in new stores and in our digital offering."