Sunday 19, August 2018 by Bloomberg

European IPOs may shake off sluggish start with fall bonanza

 

European markets are set to see a slew of big initial public offerings this fall.

Potential mega listings—from companies such as Aston Martin, Volvo Cars and Spanish oil firm Cepsa Trading SA—could help Europe overcome a relatively slow first half. IPOs there have raised about $31 billion in 2018 so far, compared with almost $38 billion in the same period last year, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Still, volatile markets threaten to spook investors and owners away from new share sales. Concerns that turmoil in Turkey could hurt the region’s lenders has added to pressure on European stocks from the US-China trade spat. Commodities have tumbled along with US equities, fuelling fears that the sell-off may be the start of a broader market correction.

“We expect to see the volume of IPO activity picking up in the second half of the year,” said Edward Park, a London-based investment director at Brooks Macdonald, which has about GBP 12.4 billion ($15.8 billion) under management. “However, pricing will need to be competitive to tempt investors who are increasingly cautious about the liquidity backdrop.”

Below is a list of the largest sales expected in the coming months:

Aston Martin
The maker of James Bond’s automobile of choice is planning to announce an IPO as soon as this month that will value the company at up to GBP 5 billion, people familiar with the matter said. A spokesman declined to comment. Neither of the company’s top two investors plan to exit completely and a share sale would be aimed at realising value rather than raising cash for expansion, Chief Executive Officer Andy Palmer said in a June interview. Palmer said at the time that an IPO in London and a listing in New York or a sale to a private investor were under consideration. 

Belfius Bank
Belgium is planning to sell an initial 30 per cent stake in state-owned Belfius Bank & Verzekeringen NV. It’s set to be announced as early as next month with a target valuation of EUR 2.5 billion ($2.9 billion), people familiar with the matter said. The government plans to make its decision on the share sale in early September, Belfius Chief Executive Officer Marc Raisiere said on 10 August. The company declined to comment on valuation when contacted by Bloomberg.

Cepsa
The 89-year-old Spanish oil company’s owner, Abu Dhabi fund Mubadala Investment Co., has tentatively planned an IPO for later this year that could value Cepsa at about EUR 10 billion, people familiar with the matter have said. Still, other companies in the industry, including Vitol Group, and investment firms could pre-empt a listing by buying part or all of the company, the people said.

Farfetch
The British tech company, which acts as a hub for fashion boutiques all over the world and provides websites for luxury brands, is planning to list in the fall in New York, targeting a valuation of about $5 billion, people familiar with the matter said. People familiar with the plans told Bloomberg News in 2016 that the company was considering an IPO this year, which Farfetch denied at the time. The company declined to comment.

Funding Circle
Britain’s biggest online loan provider may announce a listing of at least 25 per cent of the company in late August or early September that would value the firm at about $2 billion, people familiar with the matter said. The company declined to comment. Funding Circle Ltd. would be among the largest European fintech companies to list and could act as a catalyst for other share sales in the industry.

Knorr-Bremse
The German engineering firm is planning an IPO for the third quarter that would value it at 10 billion euros or more, people familiar with the matter said in June. Knorr-Bremse AG is preparing to float as much as 25 per cent of the company in Frankfurt after discussions with peers including ZF Friedrichshafen AG and Continental AG about various transactions failed to progress, they said. 

LeasePlan
LeasePlan Corp., the largest company in Europe that leases fleets of vehicles, said this month that it’s considering an IPO among other strategic alternatives. Chief Executive Officer Tex Gunning said in February that he sees an opportunity in the increasing number of consumers who want rides but not cars, and the Dutch firm may lease or sell second-hand vehicles and service contracts to ride-hailing services such as Uber Technologies Inc.

Exyte
The German construction company, formerly known as M+W Group, is considering strategic options including a listing that could raise about 1.5 billion euros at a 3 billion-euro valuation, people familiar with the matter said in April. The more than century-old firm is working with Bank of America Corp. and UBS Group AG on the deal, they said.

SIG Combibloc
The Swiss juice-box maker is slated to reappear on the stock market this year at a EUR 4 billion value, a person familiar with the matter said this month. Private equity firm Onex Corp. bought the company in 2015, agreeing to pay EUR 3.58 billion plus additional payments as SIG Combibloc Group met financial targets.

Volvo Cars
In what may be one of the biggest European IPOs this year, Volvo Cars’s Chinese owner, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, is considering a stock sale at a valuation of $16 billion to $30 billion, people familiar with the matter have said. The shares could be listed in Sweden and Hong Kong as early as this fall, people said.

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