• Hotel Chocolat sets share price at upper end of range as it lists on AIM
  • Price of 148p per share values retailer at £167m
  • Boss Angus Thirlwell hails float as a “significant moment” in its development

Hotel Chocolat has set its share price at the top end of the anticipated range ahead of its float, valuing the retailer at £167m.

The chocolatier set its share price at 148p per share as it revealed its initial public offering by way of a conditional placing on AIM this morning, driving its market cap above the anticipated level of about £150m.

Hotel Chocolat hopes to raise gross proceeds of about £55.5m from the listing. The cash injection will be invested into accelerating Hotel Chocolat’s strategy.

Hotel Chocolat boss Angus Thirlwell told Retail Week in March that the business will concentrate on building its UK presence, where it has 81 stores, by increasing its manufacturing capacity, relaunching its website and opening new stores.

Thirlwell said there was “a considerable opportunity” to increase its estate in its home market, adding that Hotel Chocolat would continue to roll out a host of formats including its flagship restaurant/cafe model, its cafe and shop format and compact travel retail sites.

Thirlwell is among Hotel Chocolat’s existing shareholders, who will receive gross proceeds of about £43.5m between them from the listing, the retailer said.

Hotel Chocolat’s co-founders, Thirlwell and Peter Harris, will continue to hold approximately two thirds of the issued share capital of the business.

Thirlwell hailed the listing as “a significant moment” in the retailer’s development.

He added: “We are delighted to have received such strong demand from investors.

“We have clear plans to invest further in our British chocolate manufacturing operations, in new stores and in our digital offering.

“We welcome our new shareholders and look forward with confidence to the next phase of our growth and development as a listed company.”

Admission and commencement of dealings in the shares are expected to take place at 8am on May 10.