Virgin Wines heading for stock market after lockdown sales boom
The firm is planning to list on London’s junior Alternative Investment Market (Aim) on or around March 2 in a move reportedly set to value the group at about £100 million.
The move comes amid a flurry of flotations in 2021, with many firms capitalising on shifting consumer trends during the coronavirus crisis.
Virgin Wines said it delivered more than one million cases of wines to customers last year amid a jump in demand from locked-down consumers and with pubs and restaurants forced to close or restrict numbers for much of the year.
Subscriptions now make up nearly three-quarters of its annual sales, with about 147,000 of its 169,000 customers now signed up. It wants to tap further into the so-called off-trade wines market, which it said is worth some £2.4 billion a year.
Chief executive Jay Wright said: “Virgin Wines is a distinctive, fast-growing direct-to-consumer retail business with a unique wine sourcing model and a loyal customer base. We are delighted to announce our intention to list on Aim signifying an exciting new chapter in the group’s long-term development.
“We have enjoyed strong, consistent growth recently resulting in the group delivering more than one million cases of wine to consumers during 2020. Underpinned by the strength of our customer proposition as well as the benefit of many positive consumer trends, we have a clear strategy to continue this growth over the coming years.”
The group saw revenues jump 55 per cent year-on-year to £40.6m in the second half of 2020, with underlying earnings surging 196 per cent to £4.5m.
Virgin Wines was founded in 2000 by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group before being sold to Direct Wines five years later.
Wright – founder of mail order wines business Warehouse Wines – and finance director Graeme Weir were appointed in 2008 and helped transform the business thanks to a focus on subscriptions.
In November 2013, the pair led a £15.9m management buyout of Virgin Wines, backed by private equity firms Mobeus Equity Partners and Connection Capital.
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