Hertfordshire business chief backs Ocado after stock market float

THE chief executive of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce has given his support to Ocado – after the Hatfield-based grocer’s flotation.

Tim Hutchings congratulated the online grocer after it successfully completed its IPO – despite the company having to slash its price range at the 11th hour in order to attract investors.

Business experts and several newspapers have rounded on Ocado today (Wednesday), after the business cut its price range from 200-275p to just 180-200p.

Many have said Ocado’s original valuation of �1.1bn was too much, and that a company that has never made a profit is worth half of that.

Nevertheless, when Ocado chief executive Tim Steiner announced today that the company had successfully completed its IPO, the business was valued at �937m.

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Mr Hutchings congratulated the company on the float.

“It’s a difficult time to be doing an IPO, so I would congratulate them on that,” he said.

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“From a local perspective, they’re a very innovative company that has created a lot of jobs, and look to be creating even more in the future, so I wish them all the best.”

Ocado serves more than 13.5 million households across the country, handling customers’ orders from an �80m, 23-acre distribution centre in Hatfield Business Park, which is operated using software that was designed by Ocado itself.

The centre allows Ocado to manage stock and cut food waste, giving it a near-perfect record for order fulfilment.

But because the technology used at the centre is unique, it has meant a significant investment from the company, which has contributed to it never recording an end of year profit.

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