Pewsey, Wiltshrine: The 250-year-old British travel firm Cox & Kings is planning an initial public offering (IPO) on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) in September, reflecting its desire to expand in the burgeoning Indian holiday market.
Chairman Anthony Good said on Friday the company will issue shares equivalent to about 25% of the business, and expects to raise about $100 million (Rs481 crore), giving it a market valuation of about $400 million.
The decision to float on BSE was made after its Indian subsidiary outgrew its other businesses, Cox & Kings said.
“India is so far on the way forward that it’s the Indian company that has ended up as the parent,” said Good, who has been chairman of Cox & Kings since 1975.
Good said the proceeds will be used to make acquisitions and to pay down the company’s debt, which stands at more than $11 million.
Cox & Kings’ Indian operations achieved revenues of around Rs74 crore in 2008. The firm provided holidays for about 287,000 Indians in 2008, compared with 16,500 holidaymakers from Britain.
Good said he expects the number of Indians holidaying with Cox & Kings to rise to 500,000 annually by 2010.
“It’s a reflection of the growth in the affluent middle classes, mainly based in the major Indian cities,” Good said