Belfast Telegraph

Auto Trader's stock market debut off to speeding start

By Roger Baird

Shares in used car website Auto Trader have got off to a strong start after the company made its stock market debut in the biggest flotation of the year.

The firm, which claims to be the UK's largest car sales website, priced its shares at 235p, valuing the business at £2.35bn. They later rose to as much as 273.75p.

The company, founded in 1977 as a classified ad magazine, now attracts 35 million visits to its websites a month.

The business sold 59% of itself to new shareholders raising £437m, which it says it will use to pay off debt.

It added that existing shareholder, buyout firm Apax Europe, will make £926.2m from selling a stake in the business. The website firm, run buy Trevor Mather, reported underlying earnings of £136.1m on sales of £237.7m in the year to March 30 last year. Online revenues have increased by around 7% annually in the past two years.

Belfast Telegraph