UPDATE 1-Shares of snack maker Utz Brands rise in NYSE debut

(Updates shares, adds quotes from Utz CEO)

Aug 31 (Reuters) - Shares of potato-chip maker Utz Brands Inc rose in their New York Stock Exchange debut on Monday after nearly 100 years as a family-owned company, riding on the rebound in investor appetite for new stocks.

Hanover Pennsylvania-based Utz on Friday completed its reverse merger with Collier Creek Holdings, a publicly listed shell company which will be renamed as Utz.

The decision to go public was made in part to prepare for the gradual transition to the next generation of Utz family ownership, according to Chief Executive Dylan Lissette.

“We have a fourth-to-fifth generational movement just as the family was getting older, and rotating from the third generation into the fourth generation then the fourth into the fifth over time,” Lissette, a fourth-generation family member through marriage, said in a telephone interview.

Collier Creek is a so-called special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), a shell company which raises funds in an initial public offering to make an acquisition and take a firm public.

Utz’s stock opened at $18.95, up from Collier Creek’s close of $16.34 on Friday. The stock had pared gains by early afternoon to $16.89. Collier Creek’s stock had already jumped on the back of the deal announcement in June.

Collier Creek had completed its IPO at $10 per share in 2018. The SPAC is backed by veteran dealmaker Chinh Chu and ex-Pinnacle Foods Chairman Roger Deromedi, who will become Utz’s chairman.

Utz reported an 11% jump in pro forma net sales to $242 million for the quarter ended June 28.

“When the lockdowns of the pandemic started in that latter half of March, early parts of April, what it really ended up doing is just increasing demand for snack foods,” Lissette said.

Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru and Joshua Franklin in New York, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Richard Chang