The owner of Applus+, which operates the National Car Test in Ireland is preparing to list the Spanish firm in what would be one of the first large flotations of a Spanish company since the onset of the financial crisis.
Carlyle, the private equity group which owns Applus, has plans to list Applus on either the Madrid or London Stock Exchange as early as the first quarter of next year.
The company will shortly begin a beauty parade to select investment banking advisers.
John Hofmeister, a former president of Shell Oil, has been hired as a non-executive member of the Applus board.
Specialising in industrial safety testing and certification across all industries, Applus was bought by Carlyle in 2007 for an enterprise value of €1.48 billion.
Since then it has doubled its revenues to €1.5 billion and last year reported earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of €171 million.
People close to the plans said Carlyle, which declined to comment on the initial public offering, could still decide to sell Applus to a third party instead if a high enough offer was received.
A 10 per cent price rise in the NCT in Ireland last year contributed to profits from itsh Irish operation increasing by 50 per cent to €4 million.
Last year, Applus Car Testing Service Ltd (ACTSL) performed over 1.6 million NCT tests and re-tests and in the process recorded revenues of €57.6 million – or more than €1 million per week.
The numbers of tests in 2012 compares to 1.449 million tests and re-tests performed in 2011 and the 10 per cent or 151,264 increase in tests and re-tests contributed to revenues last year at ACTSL increasing by 15 per cent from €49.9 million to €57.6 million in the 12 months to the end of December last (2012).
– (Additional reporting: Financial Times Limited 2012)