Watches of Switzerland seeks £660m valuation in London listing

Watches of Switzerland said it planned to seek a market capitalisation of up to £660m in its upcoming initial public offering in London as it seeks to pay off some of its debt. The UK’s largest luxury watch retailer intends to sell shares in a range between 250-277p each, which would bring its value to between £610m and £660m, the company said on Tuesday. It plans to raise at least £200m, it said, which excludes a 10 per cent “greenshoe” option, a mechanism that would aim to bring in extra proceeds. Watches of Switzerland, which accounted for half of all Rolex timepieces sold in the UK in 2018, seeks a premium listing on the London Stock Exchange, comprising new and existing shares. The retailer has been expanding in recent years and entered the US market in late 2017. It has 21 stores there as well as its 125 UK outlets. Its pricing would bring it to 13 to 14 times the price/earnings ratio on net income for April 2020 forecast at £47m. The group intends to use the net proceeds to reduce leverage to about £120m of net debt, it said. Apollo Global Management, which owns over 90 per cent of the company, would reduce its holding but retain a controlling stake. At least 25 per cent of the company’s shares would be freely traded under the proposal. The group generated sales of £746m in the 12 months to January 27. It held a 35 per cent share of the UK luxury watch market by total value of sales in 2018, and a 41 per cent share when brand-owned stores are excluded. The group said when it initially announced its plans to list that Barclays and Goldman Sachs International would act as joint global co-ordinators, bookrunners and sponsors, while BNP Paribas and Investec would act as joint bookrunners. Rothschild is acting as financial adviser.