EXCLUSIVE: Ableworld intending to float within two years

Mike Williams (left) and Paul Boniface

Ableworld is on track to launch an IPO within the next two years and will use the funds it raises to directly support the expansion of the business, its founder has revealed.

The mobility retailer, which operates more than 30 self-owned and franchised stores around the UK, has even joined a programme run by the London Stock Exchange that specifically supports fast-growing private companies through their next stage of growth.

Mike Williams, founder and managing director of Ableworld, told Access & Mobility Professional that launching an IPO was all about “timing”, but said steps had been taken to ensure the business is eventually able to achieve a stock market listing.

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“In the last year we have seriously put things in place operationally so that hopefully we’ll float within two years,” he said.

Mr Williams founded the business back in 2001, initially starting out with a single shop in Nantwich before setting up more branches in the north-west. In 2008 the company appointed its first franchisee, sparking rapid nationwide growth.

Asked if a flotation would be his way out of the business, Mr Williams said he had no such plans. “It certainly wouldn’t signal my exit,” he replied. “I will exit when I am incapable of coming into work or I drop dead! I love the business. I am not looking to exit. I don’t play golf, I don’t want to cruise round the world. My hobby is the business. And from my point of view the funding will go into the business.”

Ableworld’s plans to float are being aided by its involvement in the Elite Programme, which is run by the London Stock Exchange.

“It is an initiative to get together fast growing companies with a view to giving them information about floating, probably on the secondary market, the AIM market, or accessing funds in other directions,” explained Paul Boniface, franchise director at Ableworld. “It is partly an educational programme and partly an introduction programme, with the aim being to get us ready to float.”

The full interview with Mike Williams and Paul Boniface can be read in the May issue of Access & Mobility Professional, available to view as a free digital edition HERE.

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