EXCLUSIVE: Brian Duffy says Watches of Switzerland’s London Stock Exchange IPO is ‘ahead of anything’ he expected

Watches of Switzerland has made its IPO on the London Stock Exchange this morning, with shares climbing over 15% inside hours.
With an preliminary share value at 270p, the highest finish of the 250p-277p vary it had focused, shares went on to achieve a peak of 315p on the group’s LSE debut this morning.
The itemizing signifies that 40% of the enterprise is now owned by the general public, with the group valued at round £650m.
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Speaking solely to WatchPro, Mr Duffy, CEO of Watches of Switzerland Group, says the IPO has gone even higher than he expected.
He explains: “It’s been nice. We roughly went as much as round 14 or 15 % up and we’ve been as excessive as 17% up. So clearly it has been good, it is forward of something I used to be anticipating for certain.
“We had a great reaction, we were way over subscribed and we had the feedback from the beginning that our pricing was ‘very reasonable’ which was the term most frequently used so it was out there that we were not trying to push anything and we finished it, but the most difficult part of it all was last night trying to allocate to investors a proportion of what they had asked for and in any case all of it.”
He provides: “So yes, I did expect a positive demand today but I did not expect it to be double digits.”
Despite latest IPOs throughout different markets receiving considerably of a damaging response in latest weeks, Mr Duffy at all times felt the posh watch market and the place Watches of Switzerland has in it will maintain its personal.

He says: “I used to be at all times assured and knew that we had been one of a sort on the market and know that luxurious watches are distinctive and assume that our positioning available in the market makes us distinctive as effectively so I used to be assured it doesn’t matter what was occurring.
“Having said which, you would have ideally hoped for even better market conditions as there’s been quite a lot of volatility over the past couple of weeks, further uncertainty over Brexit and whatever but is there ever a perfect time? I don’t think so and clearly it hasn’t significantly impacted us,” feedback Mr Duffy.
Discussing the valuation and the way it got here to that, Mr Duffy detailed this morning that he was “very happy.”
He continues: “It is more or less 14x our PE so I do think it is a fair valuation. You would argue that has got an element of discount which I think is right as a new entrant to the market, people have to get to know us so we were always very comfortable with that. I think it was a narrow range that we started with 250 to 277. We then narrowed that after a couple of steps to I think 263 to 275 and then we settled on 270.”
Prior to the itemizing, it was expected that round £220m in web proceeds could be raised and a big majority of that may be used to pay down money owed.
Mr Duffy mentioned the quantity raised could be north of that determine and likewise confirmed round £155m could be used to assist with money owed, one thing he thinks is crucial within the new public area.
He explains: “I think it has actually turned out to be a bit more than that (£220m), I think Apollo said from the beginning that they would be prepared to go at something around 10% of their shares so it has gone at a little bit more than that. Apollo selling 15% of their stake approximately results in us having a 40% free float so the public out there owns 40% of the business now.”
He concludes: “The first use of that net proceed will be used to pay down debts. We had a level of debt that is acceptable in a private ownership scenario but is clearly not the kind of level of debt you would carry in a public environment so £155m of what we raise just went to pay down debt and that is the biggest single thing that has happened to our financial structure overall. And the balance of what went on the market was just Apollo selling so there’s just a change of shareholder.”

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