Watkin Jones IPO could raise £100m

Bangor-based construction and development group Watkin Jones plans to raise £100m when it floats on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange later this month.

Trading in the shares is due to start next Wednesday 23 March when the initial public offering is forecast to give the business a market capitalisation of £255m.

The company is focused on the student accommodation sector and has developed a diverse range of products across the North West and North Wales, as well as working across the UK. Since its first student scheme in 1999, the group has delivered over 28,000 student beds across 88 sites and has over 11,300 beds to deliver in its current pipeline.

The management believes there is scope for growth in further purpose-built student accommodation and private rented housing.

The group turned over £244m in the year ended 30 September 2015 and operating profit from continuing operations was £32.5m, more than double the 2014 figure of £15m.

As the company prepares for the listing, Grenville Turner, former CEO and current non-executive chairman of FTSE 250 property company Countrywide, has joined the company as non-executive chairman.

Simon Laffin, non-executive chairman of FlyBe Group and executive chairman of Warrington-based GP landlord Assura, has joined as an independent non-executive director.

The company traces its roots back to a carpentry firm founded in 1791 and is now run by Mark Watkin Jones, from the ninth generation of the family to run the business, who has been at the helm since 2003. Glyn Watkin Jones resigned as a director last month after more than 50 years in the family business.

Mark Watkin Jones said: “The entire team has worked hard to establish our position as a leader in the UK student accommodation development market, and it is this ability and ambition that will allow us to capitalise on the significant opportunities ahead.”

Zeus Capital is acting as nominated adviser, joint bookrunner and joint broker with Peel Hunt acting as joint bookrunner and joint broker.

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