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A Bay street sign is seen in Toronto’s financial district.

Mark Blinch/The Globe and Mail

Bento Sushi is working with banks to explore an initial public offering that would continue a spree of Canadian listings this year, people familiar with the matter said.

Canada's largest sushi company is working with the Bank of Nova Scotia and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce on the share sale, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. The company is seeking about $100-million, one of the people said, though no final decision has been made on the size of the IPO.

Representatives for Bento Sushi, Scotiabank and CIBC declined to comment.

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Bento Sushi started in downtown Toronto in 1996 as small takeout shop offering sushi, bento boxes, and other ready-to-eat food, according to the company's website. It now has more than 450 locations in Canada and the U.S. The Markham, Ontario-based company, which also sells its products at grocery stores across Canada, employs over 1,400 sushi chefs and serves more than 15 million sushi portions per year.

The move to go public follows the successful IPO of Canadian health-food chain Freshii Inc., which raised $144-million in its stock sale in January. Freshii is up 13 per cent since its debut.

After a dismal year for IPOs in 2016, there have been five this year in Canada that raised more than $100-million each, according to Bloomberg data. The largest was Canada Goose Holdings Inc., which brought in $391-million in March. There were only two Canadian IPOs in 2016 larger than $100-million.

Latest IPOs Real Matters Inc., a real estate data firm, began trading Thursday in Toronto. Its shares jumped to as high as $15 before settling back to just under the $13 IPO price.

On Wednesday, Kinder Morgan Inc. said it was pushing ahead with the IPO of a group of assets including its Trans Mountain pipeline system that it's calling Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd. Kinder Morgan is seeking to raise about $1.75-billion in the IPO to help finance its Trans Mountain Expansion Project, according to the regulatory filing.

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