NEWS

The Bay to go public in IPO

10/17/2012 01:53 EDT | Updated 12/17/2012 05:12 EST
The Hudson's Bay Co. is going to once again be a publicly traded company after filing paperwork to list its shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The venerable retailer and Canada's oldest company has filed a preliminary prospectus for an initial public offering of its shares.

Final pricing information on the share offering isn't typically available until a final prospectus, so investors won't get to see exactly how much of the company is being offered, and for how much, just yet.

But details in the preliminary prospectus, obtained on the DisclosureNet database, provide a glimpse of the company's finances.

Hudson's Bay Co. has 91 Bay locations, 46 Lord & Taylor locations and 69 Home Outfitter locations across the country. According to the filing, the company rang up just over $3.8 billion in sales in the last fiscal year.

Same-store sales, a key retail metric that strips out sales bumps caused by store openings, were up 6.8 per cent last year.

Dividend planned

Although details on the stock offering remain sparse, the company said it plans to pay a dividend.

"The company anticipates paying quarterly cash dividends on its common shares with a target payout ratio of 20 to 25 per cent of expected net earnings," the filing said.

The Bay last traded publicly in 2006 before it was bought by American financier Jerry Zucker.

In 2008, Zucker's company then sold the company (which includes the Bay and other brands such as Zellers and Home Outfitters) to New York hedge fund NRDC Equity Partners, which owns the Lord & Taylor chain.

The company sold leasing rights last year on more than 200 Zellers locations to U.S. retailer Target. The move to go public has been widely anticipated.

HBC has made efforts to revitalize its Bay stores with the introduction of high-end boutique spaces in its flagship Toronto store as well as obtaining the rights to produce uniforms and merchandise for Canada's Olympic athletes.

The retailer also hired former Holt Renfrew executive Bonnie Brooks as president and chief spokeswoman for The Bay.

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