Thursday, May 21, 2015

News: Fishing Republic looking to catch investors' eyes

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Eastwood-based Fishing Republic, one of the largest retailers of fishing tackle in the UK, is set to be the latest Rotherham firm to venture on to the stock market and raise significant funding for growth.

Lureflash International Ltd was launched in May 1985 and grew steadily, branching out into wholesale and broadening its sales lines from fly fishing tackle to fishing tackle in general. In June 2005 the company launched Fishing Republic, its retail arm which was specifically designed to appeal to all types of anglers.

It operates seven stores in the North of England including its Rotherham store on Chesterton Road, which incorporates the company's head office and over 30,000 sq ft of warehouse capacity. The online operation gives access to 16,500 different angling products.

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Fishing Republic has now signified its intention to float on AIM, the London Stock Exchange's international market for smaller growing companies.

Documents announcing the intentions state: "As part of its growth strategy, the group is looking to act as a consolidator in the sector by acquiring other fishing tackle retailers and also open new stores. In line with this strategy, Fishing Republic is considering various acquisition opportunities and is planning on opening a new store in Birmingham."

The firm was established in Rotherham by Steve Gross, a director and board member of the Angling Trade Association (ATA) and the Angling Foundation and an accomplished angler who represented England in competition, when he was 13 years old, selling fishing flies and fly tying materials to fishing tackle wholesalers.

In 1988 the business moved into rented premises in Mexborough and opened its first retail outlet and mail order operation in 1999. New stores and continued expansion saw the business move to a large warehouse in Rotherham in 2005. Fishing Republic has also developed a range of own brand products, including Klobba for clothing and Theseus for fishing tackle.

Northland Capital Partners Limited are the nominated advisors with shares in Fishing Republic set to begin trading on June 4. The number of shares, share price and amount of capital that the company hopes to raise through floating has not yet been disclosed.

With James Newman, chairman of Finance Yorkshire and chairman of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, on board as an independent non-executive chairman, Fishing Republic will do well to replicate the recent success of another Rotherham retailer, Crawshaw. The AIM-listed butchery firm currently has 23 retail outlets and last year raised £9m through shares to support the acceleration of its store opening programme which aims to reach 200 stores within eight years.

Other Rotherham firms on the stock market include the innovative Xeros Technology Group; Harworth, the leading regeneration specialist and developer of brownfield land; United Carpets, the UK's largest franchised carpet retailer; and Inditherm, the supplier of innovative medical products.

Fishing Republic website

Images: Fishing Republic

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