Bridgepoint to cash in from Safestore float

Bridgepoint Capital is set for a bumper gain when it floats Safestore, the UK’s largest self-storage provider, on the London Stock Exchange next month. It also plans to retain a “significant shareholding”.

Bridgepoint Capital, a UK mid-market private equity firm, has revealed plans to float self-storage provider Safestore on the London Stock Exchange. The offer is expected to be completed in early March.

Bridgepoint said it would retain “a significant shareholding” after the flotation, and has agreed not to sell any of its remaining holdings for at least six months afterwards.

Safestore has been valued at up to £700 million (€1.05 billion; $1.36 billion), which would make Bridgepoint’s stake worth more than £500 million.

The buyout firm bought Safestore in August 2003 for just £39.8 million, although it has since funded the £209 million bolt-on acquisition of Mentor in June 2004.

For the year to 31 October 2006, Safestore recorded a 22 percent increase in sales to £64.3 million, while earnings before income tax, depreciation and amortisation rose 24 percent to £33.5 million.

Steve Williams, the chief executive of Safestore who led the management buyout in 2003, said: “Our store portfolio has trebled over the past three years, both through successful acquisitions and continued organic growth.”

Safestore is the UK’s biggest self-storage provider, with 98 stores in the UK and France. It plans to add between seven and ten stores each year for the next five years.

Citigroup and Merrill Lynch have been appointed to co-ordinate the flotation.

Bridgepoint enjoyed a good year for exits in 2006, completed eleven full exits and returning €2bn to investors.