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Fresh Ocado deal boosts plans to float

OCADO has struck a new 10-year partnership deal with Waitrose – strengthening its position as it presses ahead with plans to float.

The two firms said yesterday they had sealed a deal under which Ocado will be able to continue selling Waitrose products until September 2020.

A previous agreement had been due to expire in 2013, raising concerns that Waitrose might withdraw its support to focus on developing its own online business, Waitrose Deliver.

Ocado chief executive Tim Steiner said: “This new agreement enables both sides to continue to grow and benefit from the relationship.”

He added: “In areas where Waitrose and Ocado trade together, we have both grown significantly ahead of our competition.”

Ocado said in March it was looking at a summer flotation, which could raise around £150m and value the business at about £1bn, according to analysts.

Europe’s market for initial public offerings has been sluggish recently amid volatile financial markets.

However, British fund manager Jupiter said last week it would seek a listing next month, which would be similar in size to Ocado’s.

But some analysts have suggested that the company, which was set up by three former Goldman Sachs bankers in 2000, will face an uphill struggle as it has yet to make a pre-tax profit.

MARTIN MCCOURT
DYSON CHIEF EXECUTIVE

MARTIN McCourt joined the company in 1996. Under his leadership, Dyson has grown from a £50m UK vacuum cleaner business to a £770m global technology company that exports its machines to 49 countries and employs 2,500 workers worldwide, many of whom are scientists and engineers.

Since McCourt became chief executive officer in 2001, Dyson has become the market leader in the UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Belgium, Ireland, Spain and Switzerland.

In 2001, McCourt oversaw the movement of development and production of vacuums to Malaysia, allowing Dyson to focus on the research and development of new technologies. Earlier in his career, he was general manager for the Audio Visual division with Toshiba, UK national sales manager for Duracell and held sales and business development roles with Mars. He was also at Marcus Bohn Associates for four years. Before joining Dyson, McCourt spent two years as the international director and UK general manager for German office supplies firm Pelikan.

He is married with two children.