NICHOLS PLANS TO GO PUBLIC IN LONDON

Byline: James Fallon

LONDON — Harvey Nichols said Monday that it plans to go public in an offering that could value the Knightsbridge department store at up to $244.8 million (160 million pounds) and accelerate expansion strategies. The company plans to open a department store in Leeds, England, this fall, and a restaurant in the Oxo Tower in London this summer and is looking for sites in other major cities in England and Scotland. It’s also considering sites in China. Nichols operates a unit in Hong Kong, which sells mostly private label goods.
According to a statement from Morgan Stanley & Co., which is sponsoring the offering, “The proposed flotation is intended to enhance the profile of Harvey Nichols and its ability to raise capital for future expansion.” Morgan Stanley said the timing and terms of the placing have not been finalized.
Harvey Nichols was acquired in October 1991 by Dickson Concepts Inc. of Hong Kong for 53.7 million pounds. Dickson Concepts plans to sell up to 49.9 percent of Harvey Nichols through a listing on the London Stock Exchange.
Dickson Poon, who owns 51 percent of Dickson Concepts, and Joseph Wan, the store’s managing director, have upgraded Harvey Nichols in the last four years by emphasizing designer merchandise and leased shops. In addition, Poon and Wan have expanded the men’s wear area in the basement to include more casual collections and are adding selling space on the ground floor for additional fragrances and skin care products. Recent additions include a food hall and restaurant.
The store had operating profits of $9.18 million (6 million pounds) on sales of $114.75 million (75 million pounds) in the year ended March 31, 1995.

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