UK IPO market about to get another boost

The looming return to the stock market of former WH Smith boss Kate Swann is gathering pace with the appointment of key advisers to the float of SSP, the owner of the Upper Crust and Caffe Ritazza chains.

SSP, where Ms Swann is chief executive, has hired Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley for its planned £2 billion London listing.

(Read more: Boom in UK IPOs led by 'bricks and clicks')

London's financial district, known as the Square Mile.
Getty Images
London's financial district, known as the Square Mile.

The impending float of SSP adds to the growing excitement over the return of the London IPO market, which has taken off in recent weeks with a bumper crop of potential listings.

SSP's owner, Swedish private equity group EQT, is already behind the float of Danish cleaning firm ISS, which this week dusted off plans to come to market and raise $1.5 billion.

A range of household names are also preparing to list, with this week seeing Poundland ready a £700 million float and Pets at Home chew over a £1.5 billion IPO. Meanwhile, internet sensation Just Eat has cooked up interest thanks to its rich price expectations, which could value the company as much as 90 times 2013 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation – making it one of the most pricey tech stocks on the London Stock Exchange.

(Read more: UK scientists launch IPO for latest 'wonder material')

Electricals retailer AO.com and Russian superstore chain Lenta are also heading for market, while House of Fraser, Boohoo.com and B&M are also expected to float later this year.

AO.com, which was has a price range of £1.1 billion to £1.2 billion, is marketing to investors and is said to be four times over-subscribed.

(Read more: UK companies end 2013 on 2-year high)

While equity markets have become the favored exit route for private equity owners, some companies could still use a twin-track approach by exploring possible trade sales. It is understood that Galeries Lafayette has shown interest in House of Fraser, while testing group Exova, which is lining up a £700 million float, could attract the attention of SGS, the U.S. inspection group.