Bakkavor - preparing to float, reports suggest.

Bakkavor - preparing to float, reports suggest.

Reports in the UK press suggests ready meal firm Bakkavor is to name former Hamleys toy store boss Simon Burke as its new chairman ahead of a planned float that could value the London company at GBP1.5bn (US$2bn).

The Daily Mail newspaper and news agency Reuters report that Bakkavor, which makes own label desserts, sandwiches, salads, dips and ready meals for the likes of Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury's, is preparing itself for an initial public offering (IPO) by bringing in an independent chairman, as rules stipulate.

It says Lydur Gudmundsson, one of the two Icelandic brothers that founded the business 31 years ago, intends to step down as chairman ahead of the float and will be replaced by Burke.

Lydur's brother Agust is chief executive of the company.

The reports, quoting sources, suggest that the announcement to float could come as early as next week.

They say Bakkavor hired HSBC and Morgan Stanley earlier this year to lead its IPO with Barclays, Citigroup, Rabobank and Peel Hunt also working on the deal.

Bakkavor's IPO plans first came to light back in January and talk of a stock market listing then resurfaced in July.

The UK's corporate governance code calls for an independent candidate to hold the role of chairman.

Burke was appointed to the Bakkavor board as a non-executive director in December. He was previously the chairman and chief executive of Hamleys, the world's oldest toy shop. 

Just-food was unable to substantiate the story at the time of writing.