Shares of Container Store double in trading debut

New York TimesNovember 1, 2013 

Investors could hardly contain their enthusiasm for a new initial public offering that hit the market Friday (pardon the wordplay).

Shares of the Container Store, which sells home organization products like storage bins and filing cabinets, doubled in their debut on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock closed Friday at $36.20, 101 percent above the initial public offering price.

Already, that initial price of $18 a share had been set at the top of an expected range – which was increased this week, reflecting robust demand from investors. The company raised $225 million in the IPO on Thursday evening, achieving a valuation of $828 million.

The stock, which opened Friday at $35, is trading under the ticker symbol “TCS.”

Although national retailers like Wal-Mart and Target, as well as online sellers like, sell some competing products, investors apparently brushed such concerns aside and focus on the special niche that the Container Store has met since it was founded in 1978.

The company’s financials suggest that its business is growing. Revenue for the fiscal year that ended March 2 rose 11.5 percent from the same time last year, to $706.8 million.

Still, the company, based in Coppell, Texas, reported a net loss attributable to common shareholders for that year. And sales growth appeared to slow a bit this year, with revenue in the 26 weeks that ended Aug. 31 rising just 9 percent, to $343.4 million.

The strong performance of the shares is a boon to Leonard Green & Partners, the private equity firm that invested in the Container Store in 2007. The firm is maintaining a roughly 60 percent ownership stake in the company.

Leonard Green is also getting a payout connected to the deal. The Container Store said in its prospectus that it planned to pay a dividend to holders of its preferred stock, including the private equity firm and current and former employees.

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