Zoes Kitchen IPO Surges

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Fast-casual restaurant chain Zoës Kitchen Inc. (NYSE: ZOES) sold 5.83 million shares Friday morning at an initial public offering (IPO) price of $15 a share, the top of its expected range of $13 to $15 a share. Shares popped to a high of $25.85, up 72%, before pulling back slightly.

Net proceeds from the offering total about $78.7 million, all of which will go to the company. The company’s market cap following the IPO is about $276 million. Jefferies, Piper Jaffray and Baird are the lead underwriters and have a 30-day option on an additional 875,000 shares at the IPO price.

The company operates 111 Mediterranean-style restaurants in 15 states and expects to double that number in about four years. Zoës Kitchen posted a net loss of $3.72 million in 2013, up from $253,000 in 2012. Sales rose nearly 47% year-over-year in 2013 to $36.8 million, most of which came from new store openings. Last year’s aggressive growth raised expenses by more than $11 million.

The restaurant chain plans to use the proceeds from the IPO to repay the outstanding debt of $46.8 million on its credit facility, to support new growth and for working capital and general corporate purposes.

In late Friday morning trading, the shares were up about 70% at $25.50. This was not one of our Top 10 IPOs for 2014, but it is a strong one nevertheless.