Pyaterochka, Russia's biggest grocery retailer, is to seek a listing on the London Stock Exchange by the end of this year, according to the Times newspaper.

The firm, which is expected to have a market value of more than $1bn, has appointed David Noble as its new chairman, the paper said. Mr Noble is a former director of the home shopping division of Somerfield, the supermarket group.

Credit Suisse First Boston and Morgan Stanley have been appointed as joint global co-ordinators and bookrunners for the offering, while United Financial Group and ING have been appointed as lead managers.

Pyaterochka Holding, which is incorporated in the Netherlands, operates 235 wholly owned stores in the Moscow and St Petersburg regions. The company also controls more than 207 further franchise stores across the regions.

Victor Beliakov, strategy director, said that Pyaterochka, which was launched in 1999, was opening stores at the rate of 50 to 60 a year, and this was likely to increase in the future.

Mr Beliakov said he believed that there was an opportunity for 1,000 stores in the Moscow and St Petersberg regions alone. Despite being market leader, Pyaterochka has less than 1% of the $130 billion Russian grocery market.

Most Russians buy their groceries in open markets, with the result that retail sales are highly fragmented. International retailers such as Metro and Auchan have only recently begun to expand in Russia.

Pyaterochka increased revenues by 46% to $1.1 billion in 2004, and reported net profits of $74.4 million.