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Time for its IPO: Dunkin’ to launch public offering this week

Dunkin’ Brands Group will launch an initial public offering of stock this week in hopes of raising as much as $401 million.

The company, which owns Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, will begin trading under “DNKN’’ symbol and initially sell 22.3 million shares priced between $16 and $18, with the option of selling an additional 3.3 million shares later on, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing today.

Shares of Dunkin’ could begin trading as early as tomorrow.

The proceeds from the shares, which represent 19.7 percent of the company, will be used to reduce about $475 million in debt. Dunkin’ first reported in May that it would take part of the company public and sell at least $400 million of stock.

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The trio of private equity firms that own the company – Bain Capital Partners, Thomas H. Lee Partners of Boston, and Carlyle Group of Washington, D.C., – will each retain a 26.1 percent controlling interest. The filing comes six years after the firms bought Dunkin’ for $2.4 billion.

Dunkin’ Brands lost about $1.7 million in the first quarter of 2011, largely due to expenses to refinance debt, compared with $5.9 million in net income in 2010. According to the filing, the company expects total revenues to increase from $150.4 million last year to between $155 million and $158 million for the second fiscal quarter.

Today’s filing warns potential investors of the risk of buying Dunkin’ stock and says that the company’s debt could limit their ability to grow and increase sales.

Over the past several years, Dunkin’ Donuts has laid out plans to double the chain to 15,000 stores in the United States. In the New England and New York markets, there is one Dunkin’ Donuts store for every 9,700 people and the company plans to focus its growth on existing markets east of the Mississippi River, where there is one Dunkin’ for every 48,400 people, according to the company’s prospectus.

As of late March, there were 6,482 Baskin-Robbins stores in the world, 2,523 of which were in the United States.

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