Flotation plan

Dobbies eyes return to stock market on back of growth


Dobbies: good growth

Garden centre chain, Dobbies, is making tentative plans for a return to the stock market following a surge in sales.

The firm, based at Lasswade in Midlothian, saw turnover rise by 2% to £166 million in the year to the end of February after opening six additional stores.

Like-for-like sales were 5% higher, while underlying earnings grew by 35% to £7.4m.

Andrew Bracey, chairman, said the company will look to a return to the stock market over the next 12 months.

It operated principally as a seed merchant until 1984 when it was bought out by David Barnes who acquired a number of garden centres and floated it on the Alternative Investment Market three years later. The company was listed on the main market of London Stock Exchange between 1997 and 2007 when it was acquired by Tesco for £155.6m, with Sir Tom Hunter among its minority shareholders.

In 2016 the supermarket group sold it to a consortium of investors led by Midlothian Capital Partners and Hattington Capital in a £217m deal.

It became Britain’s biggest garden centre operator in April with the acquisition of 31 sites from Wyevale Garden Centres, taking on 1,400 employees.

The deal, valued at an estimated £135m, almost doubled the size of the Dobbies estate to 69 centres with annual sales of more than £300m. It plans to double in size again over the next three years.

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