Container Store doubles in NYSE trading debut

NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of The Container Store more than doubled in their market debut on Friday.

The retailer, which specializes in shelving, storage bins, boxes and related organizational items, priced its initial public offering of 12.5 million shares at $18 apiece. This was above the projected price range of $14 to $16 per share.

Shares jumped immediately and sustained the gains, ending the session up $18.20 at $36.20 on the New York Stock Exchange. Trading activity was heavy, with nearly 14.7 million shares changing hands. Container Store Group Inc. raised $225 million in the IPO. It is giving underwriters the option to buy up to nearly 1.9 million additional shares.

The Dallas company said that it plans to spend proceeds on paying preferred dividends to its private equity firm backer, Leonard Green & Partners, as well as current and former employees and repaying debt. Leonard Green will own nearly 61 percent of its shares after the IPO.

The Container Store has 62 stores nationwide that sell organization and storage products. It also owns Elfa, a Swedish maker of storage system parts that are sold in its stores and elsewhere. The Container Store is unprofitable, but its revenue is growing again after taking a hit during the recession. Sales have increased 28 percent over the past five fiscal years. Sales came to $706.8 million in Container Store's most recent fiscal year, which ended March 2.

Shares are trading under the "TCS" ticker symbol.

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