• The Hut lines up private investment of $200m (£138m)
  • 2015 sales up 35%, EBITDA rises 30% to £23m
  • Boss Matt Moulding rules out IPO for now

Etailer The Hut Group has secured private funding of at least $200m (£138m) as is steps up its focus on acquisitions, according to reports.

The health and beauty etailer, whose shareholders include Lord Rose and Sir Terry Leahy, has investment lined up from US fund group BlackRock, Belgian investment company Sofina, and an unnamed Chinese fund, the Financial Times reported.

It comes after The Hut revealed last September it had agreed new loan terms with its banks to fund expansion and mergers and acquisitions.

The Hut, whose chairman is Co-op boss Richard Pennycook, performed strongly in 2015, latest figures show.

Chief executive Matt Moulding revealed sales rose 35% to £335m, while like-for-likes increased 34%. Adjusted EBITDA climbed 30% to £23m.

Speculation has mounted previously that The Hut was considering an initial public offering.

However, chief executive Matt Moulding, who established the group in 2004, ruled out the prospect of a public float at this time.

“We are searching for massive complementary deals in the health and beauty sector,” he told the FT. “We would issue equity in that situation.”

“Shareholders in the main would always prefer to be a listed business: valuations are higher, liquidity is high.

“My job is to always do the best for the business. What is best for shareholders is that this business performs to the best of its ability.”