Danish services firm ISS revives share float plan to raise $1.5bn
IPO to pay down debt follows two pulled flotations and failed trade sale to G4S
Jeff Gravenhorst, chief executive officer of ISS Holding
Danish business services firm ISS is planning a return to the Copenhagen stock market with an initial public offer aimed at raising eight billion kroner for the company, its third attempt at an IPO since it was bought by private equity investors nine years ago.
The proceeds will be used to bring down the company’s net debt, which stood at DkK22.7 billion at the end of 2013, and will make it the second biggest IPO in the Nordics since Norwegian insurer Gjensidige Forsikring raised $1.87 billion in 2010.
Funds managed by Swedish private equity firm EQT and by Goldman Sachs bought ISS for DkK22.1 billion and delisted it from the Copenhagen bourse in 2005.
ISS said a partial sell-down of their shares was expected under the IPO but did not quantify their intentions.
EQT and Goldman Sachs together hold 73 per cent of ISS after the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTTP) and Kirkbi, which invests funds from the family behind Lego toys, injected €500 million for a combined 26 per cent stake in 2012. Neither of these investors intends to sell shares in the IPO, ISS said.
“The intended IPO is expected to support our operational strategy, advance our public and commercial profile provide us with improved access to public capital markets and a diversified base of new private and institutional shareholders,” chief excecutive Jeff Gravenhorst said.
The company also said today its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation were unchanged last year at DkK5 billion on revenue down 1.3 per cent at DkK78.5 billion, due to non-core divestments and adverse exchange rates, with underlying organic growth running at 4.3 per cent.
Plans to list ISS in 2007 and again in 2011 were both dropped because of difficult market conditions.
The company cancelled the IPO in 2011 six days after the devastating Tohoku earthquake off Japan brought renewed uncertainty and volatility to global financial markets.
An agreed £5.2 billion cash and shares bid by British security services group G4S was then abandoned in November 2011 due to resistance from G4S’s shareholders. At the time the deal had valued the company at DkK130 a share. – Reuters