CEO Eric Foss

Aramark president and CEO Eric Foss (center), joined by frontline employees and members of the management team, rings the NYSE Opening Bell.

Aramark shares climb following IPO

Company also unveils new tagline, logo on first day of trading

Aramark Holdings Corp.’s shares climbed Friday after the global foodservice contractor raised $725 million in its initial public offering.

In its third run as a public company, Philadelphia-based Aramark began trading Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ARMK.

Aramark had set its IPO price at $20 per share late Wednesday, at the low end of a projected range of $20 to $23. The company’s stock closed the day Thursday at $22.70, an increase of 14 percent. Shares opened at $23 on Friday and were trading at $23.81 around midday.

Eric Foss, Aramark’s president and chief executive, celebrated the first day of trading by ringing the opening bell and visiting the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange.

“The step Aramark is taking today better enables us to fulfill our growth objectives and our mission to deliver experiences that enrich and nourish lives,” said Foss in a statement. “As a public company, we are even better positioned to execute our repeatable business model and deliver innovative, high-quality services to meet the evolving needs of our clients and customers.”

As part of the opening day celebration, the company also unveiled a revitalized logo and tagline: “We Dream. We Do.”

Aramark sold 28 million shares and plans to use the proceeds to pay down debt and is also looking for growth opportunities.

In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Foss said the focus will remain on growing the core business of providing foodservice, uniforms and facilities management to sports venues, hospitals, schools and prisons in 22 countries. But the company will also be “strategic” in looking at possible merger-and-acquisition activity — especially given opportunities for consolidation in the somewhat fragmented contract feeder space.

Noting that organic growth for Aramark is expected to be in the mid-single-digit range, Foss said, “We don’t need M&A. Having said that, we will be very strategic relative to opportunities that are presented.”

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