Advent’s smartcard firm Oberthur set for Paris share listing, say sources: Reuters

(Reuters) Advent International is looking to press ahead with an initial public share offering (IPO) for its French smartcard maker Oberthur Technologies, having rebuffed a joint bid made by two other private equity firms, Carlyle and Eurazeo, sources familiar with the matter said.

Oberthur Technologies, which ranks as the world’s second largest manufacturer of smartcards behind Gemalto, is slated to go public in Paris by the end of the year, the sources said.

The application for a listing on Euronext is expected to be made in the next two weeks, another source said.

A consortium of Carlyle and Eurazeo was vying with an alliance of PAI and Silver Lake to buy Oberthur.

But PAI and Silver Lake walked away without making an offer, while Carlyle and Eurazeo’s bid failed to meet Advent’s expectations of 1.7 billion euros, two of the sources said.

Spokesmen at Advent, Oberthur and Eurazeo declined to comment. Carlyle and PAI were not immediately available for comment.

Advent, which is being advised by Rothschild, expects to get a better price with a stock market listing and has appointed banks to work on the share offering, they said.

JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank have been brought in as global coordinators while Societe Generale, Natixis, HSBC and BNP Paribas are acting as bookrunners on the deal, two of the sources said.

Advent, which is also in the process of listing its British payments processing firm Worldpay in London, started reviewing strategic options for Oberthur earlier this year.

Headquartered in Hauts-de-Seine, on the outskirts of Paris, Oberthur reported earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) of 147 million euros in 2014, up from 132 million euros the previous year.

It expects EBITDA to increase to around 175 million euros in 2015, a banker familiar with the company said.

Oberthur’s main rival Gemalto’s shares trade at a multiple of enterprise value to forecast EBITDA of 8.8, while Ingenico Group and Wirecard AG trade on multiples of 12.3 and 16.1 respectively, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Gemalto’s shares sank in September after the French firm announced the closure of its U.S. mobile payments service Softcard.

Oberthur develops security software embedded in cards and other devices for making payments and giving access to transport networks or buildings.

Advent bought 90 percent of Oberthur in 2011 for 1.15 billion euros while the company’s founder Jean-Pierre Savare and his family retained a 10 percent stake.