Belfast Telegraph

Hotel Chocolat shares leap 26% on London market debut

Shares in Hotel Chocolat jumped by more than a quarter on the company's first day of trading on the London market.

The luxury chocolate maker launched shares on the London Stock Exchange's Alternative Investment Market for young companies at 148p each, and they jumped 26% in early trading to a high of 197p, valuing the business at more than £200 million.

The company raised £55.5 million through an initial public offering - with £12 million of that sum earmarked for upgrading its manufacturing operations, opening new stores and growing online sales.

Founders Angus Thirlwell and Peter Harris are now jointly worth £43.5 million as a result of the listing, with the duo retaining a 66.6% stake in the company.

The listing was understood to be heavily oversubscribed.

The group was founded in 1993 and runs 81 stores, a hotel in St Lucia and restaurants in London and in Leeds.