Financial News

  • 17 February 2014, 16:52

Poundland Lures Shapland To Aid 750m Float

The former chief executive of Carpetright is to take on a key board role at Poundland as one of Britain's biggest discount retailers presses the button on a bumper stock market listing.

Sky News understands that Darren Shapland, who quit Carpetright in the wake of a profit warning last autumn, is expected to become Poundland's senior independent director.

A former finance director of J Sainsbury, Mr Shapland had been seen as a strong contender to succeed Justin King at the helm of the supermarket chain before he resigned to join Carpetright in 2011.

He also serves on the board of Ladbrokes, the bookmaker which said at the weekend that it would accelerate its closure of underperforming UK shops.

Mr Shapland, who has also worked at Arcadia and Superdrug, will be one of four new non-executive directors named by Poundland when it announces its intention to float, which is expected as early as Tuesday.

The other new board members will include Trevor Bond, an executive at Mondelez, the US-based food giant spun out of Kraft Foods, which bought its British rival Cadbury in 2010.

Coincidentally, Poundland often cites its sale of 6m Toblerone bars - a Mondelez brand - annually as one of the measures of its stellar growth.

The chain has grown rapidly as consumers have sought to economise, and says it sells more than 1,000 branded products at the same price-point.

The flotation of Poundland will lay the foundations for an ambitious expansion of the chain, which currently operates 450 shops and has set a target of more than doubling that estate to 1,000.

Last year, the company reported a 15% rise in total sales to 880m, and a 15.6% increase in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation to 45.4m.

Mr McCarthy, who stands to make a massive windfall from the flotation, said when reporting the group's full-year results in October that it had been "a year of tremendous progress".

Poundland has since reported record Christmas trading and said earlier this month that it would expand into Spain under the name Dealz.

Poundland is chaired by Andrew Higginson, who was a senior executive at Tesco during Sir Terry Leahy's stint there. Also a non-executive director of BSkyB, the owner of Sky News, Mr Higginson last year led an unsuccessful bid to acquire 315 branches from Royal Bank of Scotland.

Sir Terry now chairs B&M Retail, another leading discount retailer backed by private equity funding, which is also drawing up plans to list on the stock market this year. It could be worth well over 1bn when it does so.

Rothschild, the investment bank, has been advising Poundland on its options, while Credit Suisse and JP Morgan will act as bookrunners responsible for placing the shares with new investors.

Poundland, which declined to comment, will be among a glut of retailers looking to list on the stock market. Insiders say that Pets At Home could also announce its intention to float as soon as this week.

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