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Boohoo.com Sets Price for IPO

The British fashion online retailer expects to start trading on London’s AIM market on March 14.

LONDON — British fashion e-tailer Boohoo.com said Friday it has fixed the share price of its initial public offering here at 50 pence, or 84 cents, a share. Six hundred million ordinary shares will be floated.

The firm expects to start trading on London’s AIM market at 8 a.m. on Friday, with a market capitalization of around 560 million pounds, or $936 million. Dollar figures are converted at current exchange.

The firm said it is raising about 300 million pounds, or $502 million, of which 50 million pounds, or $84 million, will be used to accelerate its expansion and “enhance its working capital base,” with 240 million pounds, or $401 million, used to repay convertible loan notes held by the company’s existing shareholders.

Boohoo said the initial placing of its shares ahead of the IPO had seen “strong demand from institutional investors.” After the firm is admitted to the stock market on Friday and following the completion of the placing, about 55 percent of Boohoo’s share capital will be in free float. At that point, the board will own about 30 percent of the firm and non-board members of the retailer’s founding Kamani family will own about 14 percent.

The retailer, which was founded in 2006 and carries trend-led, accessibly priced fashion — all under its own brand name — said it has 2.3 million active customers, whose core age range is between 16 and 24. Thirty-seven percent of Boohoo’s sales were international in the 10 months to December, and the firm launched a French-language site in October.

In the 10 months to December, Boohoo said sales rose 70 percent to 91.9 million pounds, or $153.7 million, and that adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization advanced to 10.1 million pounds, or $16.9 million, versus 3.5 million pounds, or $5.6 million, in the previous year.

Boohoo’s imminent flotation comes amid a slew of fashion and retail brands said to be preparing for IPOs this year. The Indian online retailer Koovs is set to make its debut on the AIM market on Monday, aiming to raise 22 million pounds, or $37 million, while the British department store chain House of Fraser is also said to be preparing to float, as is the British high street brand Fat Face. The Australian shopping mall group Westfield was also reported last month to be planning to list in the U.S. or London.

Ahead of its IPO, Boohoo revealed the appointment of a number of non-executive directors with retail expertise, including Peter Williams as non-executive chairman. Williams, who is also a non-executive director of Rightmove plc and senior independent director of Sportech plc, is a former chief executive officer of Selfridges and a former senior independent director of Asos plc.

Mahmud Kamani, joint ceo of Boohoo, said Friday: “The placing and admission to AIM marks a significant step for Boohoo as we invest in this exciting growth opportunity, underpinned by the rapidly growing online retail market.”

Carol Kane, Boohoo’s joint ceo, added: “We are confident that our competitive position and growing customer base mean we are well-placed to capitalize on the fast-growing online fashion retail market.”