Written on the 20 June 2014 by Nick Nichols


SHARES in Gold Coast based accommodation provider Mantra Group (ASX: MTR) opened at a small premium today as they debuted on the Australian Securities Exchange.

The $1.80 shares, which were issued in a quickfire IPO launched just two weeks ago, opened at $1.85 but they hit a low of $1.73 before settling at $1.78 by the close – valuing the company at $444 million.

More than 19 million shares changed hands as Mantra finally made it to the boards after a planned public float was abandoned earlier this year due to soft market conditions.

Mantra Group CEO Bob East, whose shareholding on today’s close is worth about $4 million, says the listing paves the way for further growth for the company through access to capital markets.

"This is a great day for Mantra Group team members, our loyal customers and property owners because our listed status and access to capital provides us with the ability to roll out our strategic growth plans," says East.

"We are already Australia's second-largest accommodation provider with more than 11,600 rooms and we have a strong development pipeline aimed at delivering the great service experience our customers have come to expect from Peppers, Mantra and BreakFree in even more locations across Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia.”

East says he was chuffed with the first day’s trading, which is on a deferred-settlement basis.

The shares will begin trading on a normal settlement basis on June 27.

Mantra today also posted its first-half profit report which showed the company delivered a $941,000 net loss in the six months to December last year.

This compares with a $12 million profit a year earlier, with the most recent result impacted by a near tripling of finance costs to $28.3 million.

Revenue for the half-year was $230 million, up 3.5 per cent from a year earlier. The company is targeting full-year revenue of $450 million this financial year.

East says he is chuffed with the first day’s trading on the ASX which he says is a “positive reception” by the investment market.

"Our new shareholders include a strong representation of blue-chip Australian investment institutions and we are looking forward to welcoming many retail investors into ownership of the company,” he says.

"I am proud of what the Mantra Group team have achieved to date and I am excited about this next phase in the Mantra story."

East is among Mantra’s top 20 shareholders, sitting at 13 with 2.3 million shares or just under 1 per cent of the company.

Prior to today’s listing, Mantra had 574 shareholders, with majority stakes held by private equity group CVC Asia Pacific and UBS who have been looking for an exit of their investment since acquiring Mantra in 2008 from liquidators to the failed financial services group MFS.

Author: Nick Nichols





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