Hg floats plan for Raymarine IPO

The London-based private equity firm is seeking an IPO of marine accessories supplier Raymarine at a £125m valuation.

London-headquartered private equity firm HgCapital has announced that it is seeking to list Raymarine Group, a supplier of electronic products to the leisure boating market, on the London Stock Exchange.

Nick Turner, head of HgCapital's consumer team, said that the firm was committed to exiting through flotation, and was targeting a market cap of around £125 million ($232 million; €180 million).

Raymarine supplies the leisure boating market with marine electronic products including autopilots, radar, fishfinders and communication devices. It is based in Nashua, New Hampshire in the US, and has a network of dealers throughout Europe, Australasia and the Americas. Last year, the company's turnover was £94 million.

The company was formed to acquire Raytheon's Recreational Marine Division in an MBO backed by HgCapital in January 2001. HgCapital paid £33 million for a 70 percent stake and is hoping to achieve a return of approximately four times its original investment.

In a press release Raymarine gave reasons for seeking the listing. These included securing a more diversified shareholder base and raising the company's profile. It also noted that it expects future growth spurred on by factors such as technological advance and the retirement of the baby boomer generation, which would produce a growing population with free time and disposable income.

While it has held a stake in the company, HgCapital has made changes to Raymarine's management team and increased its rate of investment in new product development. Turner said the firm had decided that it was the right time to attempt flotation because 'the benefits of these changes are starting to show, and new products are starting to come through'.

Turner added that although the firm was keen to partly realise its investment, it was likely to retain a 'significant share' of the equity.

Hawkpoint Partners is acting as financial adviser on the transaction. Collins Stewart is acting as broker.