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Austria’s BAWAG eyes flotation, possibly as early as autumn, say sources: Reuters

BAWAG PSK [CCMLPB.UL] is preparing an initial public offering (IPO) that could value the Austrian bank at up to 5 billion euros ($5.59 billion) and take place as early as autumn, people close to the matter said.

Its majority owner, buyout group Cerberus [CBS.UL], may mandate global coordinators for a possible IPO as early as next month and could launch a flotation after the summer break, they said, adding that was only one option as BAWAG bulks up via acquisitions.

The investor has held talks with investment banks in recent weeks to hear their proposals for a divestment of the asset, which Cerberus has held for a decade, they said.

Cerberus could opt to sell shares worth 1 to 1.5 billion euros, valuing the bank at 4 to 5 billion euros, the people said, adding that no decisions about when or where to list the asset had been made at this stage.

At 4.5 billion euros, BAWAG would be valued at roughly 1.5 times its book value — in line with the valuation of Nordic banks but at a premium to most banks in continental Europe.

Cerberus acquired BAWAG with other investors for 3.2 billion euros in 2007. It now owns 52 percent, and GoldenTree Asset Management has a 40 percent stake.

BAWAG did not comment on its owners’ potential plans. Cerberus was not immediately available for comment, and GoldenTree declined to comment.