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Cara to raise $200M in IPO as early as April

Cara Operations Ltd., the Canadian restaurant company that owns Swiss Chalet, Milestones and Harvey’s, aims to raise $200 million when it lists on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Restaurant company that owns Swiss Chalet, Milestones plans to list shares at $19-$22

Swiss Chalet is one of 10 restaurant chains with $1.7 billion in sales owned by Cara. (Canadian Press)

Cara Operations Ltd., the Canadian restaurant company that owns Swiss Chalet, Milestones and Harvey’s, aims to raise $200 million when it lists on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

According to the most recent documents filed, it will price its shares at $19 to $22, valuing the company at $1.1 billion. A firm price will be set the week of April 6.

 Cara, based in Vaughan, Ont., owns 837 restaurants across Canada with multiple successful brands. These are:

  • Swiss Chalet,
  • Kelsey's,
  • Casey's,
  • Milestones,
  • Bier Markt,
  • Montana's,
  • Harvey's,
  • East Side Mario's.

Cara, founded in 1883 to sell snacks and newspapers for rail and steamship lines in Ontario, was listed in Canada from 1968 to 2004.  The Phelan family took it private in 2004.

In 2010, Fairfax Financial Holdings, the Toronto-based investment house owned by Prem Watsa, bought a stake in Cara. Fairfax will retain as much as 41 per cent of total shares outstanding and Phelan shareholders plan to hold a 36 per cent stake, the documents said

The filing says Cara aims to pay down debt with the money it raised.  

Fairfax will have a 53 per cent voting interest, while the Phelan group will have a 46 per cent voting interest.

Cara has applied for the ticker symbol CAO. It expects a final price for the IPO the week of April 6 and the offering is expected to close on the week of April 20.

Cara restaurants generated $1.7 billion in sales last year, making Cara the third-largest single restaurant owner in the country behind Tim Hortons and McDonalds.

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