UPDATE 1-Restaurant chain Zoe's Kitchen valued at $276 mln in IPO

April 10 Fri Apr 11, 2014 2:09am BST

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April 10 (Reuters) - Zoe's Kitchen Inc priced its initial public offering at $15 on Thursday, valuing the Mediterranean-style restaurant chain at about $276 million.

Zoe's IPO raised about $87.5 million from the offering, after its initial public offering of 5.83 million shares of common stock was priced at the upper-end of its expected price range.

The company earlier this week expected the IPO to be priced between $13 and $15 per share.

Birmingham, Alabama-based Zoe's Kitchen is selling all the shares in the offering.

Shares of the restaurant chain, which is expected to start trading on Friday, will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "ZOES."

Jefferies, Piper Jaffray and Baird are the lead underwriters for the offering.

The company is backed by private equity firm Brentwood Associates, which owns about 71 percent. Brent's stake would drop to about 46 percent after the offering, the company said in the filing.

Founded in 1995 by Zoƫ and Marcus Cassimus in Birmingham, Alabama, the fast casual restaurant focuses on serving healthy options such as Greek salads and pita pizzas.

The company owns 111 restaurants in 15 states as of Feb 24, 2014, and plans to add another 28 to 30 restaurants this year.

Zoe's is hoping to ride a strong wave of IPOs from fast casual restaurant chains, including Noodles & Co, Chuy's Holdings Inc and sandwich company Potbelly Corp .

The fast casual restaurant segment is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of about 10 percent to $50 billion by 2017, according to a market research firm Technomic.

Shares of Noodles and Potbelly more than doubled in their debut last year while Chuy's shares, which made its debut in 2012, trade close to $39, almost three times its IPO price.

Other restaurant chains planning floats for later this year include burger chain Checkers Drive In, and pizza chain Papa Murphy's Inc has already filed for an IPO of up to $70 million.

Zoe's net loss widened to $3.71 million for the year ended Dec. 30, from $253,000 a year earlier. Revenue rose 46 percent to about $116.4 million during the same period.

Net proceeds from the offering would be used to repay debt, Zoe's said in the filing. (Reporting by Avik Das and Shubhankar Chakravorty in Bangalore; Editing by Bernard Orr and Ken Wills)