Italia says Cobra is “definitely on track to go public”. He adds: “We’re probably looking at a two-year horizon from now, rather than a two-year horizon from last year. The plan is still on but delayed a bit.” Cobra was founded in 1989 by Karan Bilimoria. Current turnover stands at £126m and compound annual growth is pitching at more than 42 per cent during the last 10 years. Last month, the company acquired its first brewery. It took a controlling stake in Iceberg Industries, which is based in the north east Indian state of Bihar. Italia joined the company in 2001 and oversaw an innovative refinancing project to free up funds for Cobra’s marketing push. Last year, he was named the Real FD/CBI Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Italia insists that Cobra is flexible enough to react to favourable conditions for going public. “You never know with these sorts of things,” he says. “The timing might be right in a year’s time. We’re flexible. We’ve always tried to be ready for that situation right from the start.”
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