Halfords prepares for share deal

Unconditional share dealing in car accessories retailer Halfords is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, marking the first big retail IPO since HMV in 2002.

A flotation price was due to be set yesterday, as Retail Week went to press, following an investor roadshow over the past fortnight for institutions in the UK, US and Europe. Broker Seymour Pierce - whose executive chairman Keith Harris is a Halfords non-executive director - attended the roadshow and recommended the retailer as an investment.

Analyst Richard Ratner said: 'In addition to its leading market position, it has a balance of exposure to both defensive and growth markets, as well as brand recognition and a good store portfolio.'

After floating, Halfords intends to continue converting existing shops to its Arcade format, opening stores and pushing into new categories.

Halfords announced its IPO plans in mid-May, valuing equity at£626.8 million. The business was bought from Boots by venture capitalist CVC in August 2002, and a turnaround management team headed by former Dixons man David Hamid was installed.

Last year, Halfords generated turnover of£578.6 million and operating profit of£79.2 million.