MADRID (Reuters) – Travel reservations firm Amadeus (AMA.MC) returned to the Spanish stock exchange on Thursday, defying the country’s recent debt downgrade to become Europe’s largest flotation this year.
Amadeus raised over 1.3 billion euros ($1.73 billion) in the listing, giving it a market capitalisation of some 4.9 billion euros, similar to Spanish blue chips like Acciona (ANA.MC) or Ferrovial (FER1.MC).
Its return to the market, just a day after Standard & Poor’s cut its ratings on Spain by a notch with a negative outlook, followed a leveraged buy-out five years ago.
Since its delisting by private equity firms Cinven and BC Partners, Amadeus invested heavily in advanced IT systems for airlines and became a reference point in the tourism industry.
By 1245 GMT, the shares were 7.36 pct higher at 11.81 euros.
“Innovation is in our genes,” Amadeus Chairman David V. Jones said at the stock market presentation.
The company’s other shareholders are airlines Air France (AIRF.PA), Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) and Iberia (IBLA.MC).
MORE IPOS TO COME?
The successful launch challenged a fickle market for new stock market issues and private equity-backed assets, exemplified by the recent failure of a $1.8 billion attempted listing in London by Amadeus’s rival Travelport.
The chairman of Madrid’s stock exchange operator BME (BME.MC), Antonio Zoido, said Amadeus’s successful flotation would bode well for future listings.
“The markets are very turbulent but there is volume, particularly for companies that can give an attractive dividend,” Zoido told Reuters.
But analysts said Amadeus was a unique private-equity turn-around that gave investors a chance to buy into a tourism industry recovery, and that other companies would still face tough market scrutiny.
“The market is being very selective,” said Rodriguez from Ibersecurities.
Spanish renewables firm Renovalia is scheduled to make its stock market debut on May 12, but solar energy group T-Solar on Wednesday said it was postponing its listing.
By Tracy Rucinski
(Editing by Mike Nesbit and Rupert Winchester) ($1=.7508 euros)