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A renaissance for British chocolate companies: Hotel Chocolat floats


Retail Gazette / Edward Perkins

Contrary to predictions, Hotel Chocolat has revealed its £167m floatation. The chocolatier’s Founder Angus Thirwell noted that the companies recent success signals a “renaissance of British chocolate companies”, as the recent sale of Thorntons and Cadbury “left a bad taste” in investors’ mouths.

Thirwell and Co-Founder Peter Harris will share a £40m wage as a result of the company’s listing on London’s junior market.

Hotel Chocolat confirmed its intention to float and raise £55m at the beginning of March. While analysts voiced concerns that the current political climate, particularly Brexit would weaken the retailer’s chances, Hotel Chocolat proved them wrong.

The retailer rejected approaches from private equity firms in 2015 who were interested in purchasing a stake in the business. Rather opting for floatation allowed the Founders to "remain guardians of the brand" and continue to own 66.6% of Hotel Chocolat once listed.

Thirwell noted that he had toured the City with “armfuls of chocolate slabs” to which investors had been "overwhelmingly supportive about the strength of the brand" despite the turbulent market.

"We decided to stick to our guns with the listing. We had a narrow window to do it because of our 'chocolate calendar'. As soon as the last Easter eggs were sold we pressed ahead because in a few months we will have to prepare for Christmas" added the Hotel Chocolat Founder.

Since the creation of the business in 1993, Hotel Chocolat now comprises of 84 stores and employs over 1,200 people. The company also operates a cocoa-themed restaurant in London’s Borough Market and a hotel in St Lucia on its plantation.

Hotel Chocolat has now overtaken Thorntons as the biggest chocolate retailer.

Published on Thursday 05 May by Talya Misiri

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