EASYJET founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou pushed on with plans to float his fledgling hotel chain today despite raising just half the £60 million he had hoped for.
EasyHotel will join London’s Alternative Investment Market (Aim) next week valued at £50m.
Sir Stelios, who is returning to the market 14 years after floating his budget airline, snapped up some of the new shares himself, meaning that he retains a majority stake for the time being. He had planned to end up with a minority holding.
His EasyGroup Holdings is investing £7.8m by converting debt to equity and buying shares, and will own 55.7 per cent of the company when trading commences on Monday. The rest will be owned by new shareholders.
The company owns two freehold hotels and wants to roll out more owned sites to join its 17 franchised venues.
Joining Aim will see the firm raise £30m towards expanding its estate.
When it filed its intention to float a month ago, the firm said it would seek to raise up to £60m.
Sir Stelios said: “I am delighted that with the backing of institutional investors EasyHotel will be able to grow and prosper as an independent company. This is a great business model which will continue to prosper as it grows and meets the demand of budget-conscious travellers around Europe and beyond.
“The transparency and scrutiny of the public markets will also allow me to step back from the company and enable me to focus on continuing my diversification strategy into other business and philanthropic activities.”
The entrepreneur said he expects to remain “a significant and supportive shareholder for a very long time”.
Chairman Jan Åstrand said the group planned the roll-out of further fully-owned hotels in major European “gateway cities”, using the proceeds from its flotation to acquire and develop new sites.
He said significant growth opportunities are available in the “super budget” segment.