Ceva, Polyphor announce float plans in busy Swiss IPO market: Reuters

Transport firm Ceva Logistics announced a flotation on Monday to cut debt and drugmaker Polyphor outlined its listing plans to raise cash for the development of pipeline hopefuls, extending this year’s run of Swiss stock offerings.

Ceva Logistics, owned by private equity firm Apollo (APO.N), aims to get 1.3 billion Swiss francs ($1.35 billion) in an all-primary share offering. Polyphor plans to raise 100-150 million francs, it said separately.

Both IPOs are planned for this quarter.

The expected sales, combined with a separate IPO proposal for HNA Group’s [HNAIRC.UL] ground services and cargo handling unit Swissport, would add to listings this year by sensors maker Sensirion (SENSI.S) and medical devices maker Medartis (MEDA.S) last month.

Ceva, with about $2.1 billion in debt that has dragged on earnings, said proceeds from its sale would deleverage its balance sheet to less than three times adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA).

“The planned IPO and deleveraging will allow us to open the next chapter in the development of the company,” Chief Executive Xavier Urbain said. “Ceva will be able to accelerate organic growth and participate in market consolidation.”

Ceva Logistics’ largest location is the Netherlands, but a majority of its management team is now based in Baar, Switzerland, a spokesman said.

Reuters had previously reported that Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley are joint global coordinators and joint bookrunners for the IPO.

Deutsche Bank, UBS and Berenberg are joint bookrunners, HSBC and Vontobel as co-bookrunners and Rothschild as independent IPO adviser.

Apollo acquired Ceva Logistics, formerly TNT Logistics, from Dutch postal and telecommunications company KPN (KPN.AS) in 2006, and later merged it with U.S. peer EGL.

Last year, Ceva Logistics posted adjusted EBITDA of $280 million on revenues of $7 billion.

Polyphor, founded in 1996, aims to use the funds to develop murepavadin, a drug against a tough-to-treat bacteria strain that is a leading cause of pneumonia, as well as for other medicines.

Reuters had reported last month Polyphor was considering a listing.

“In murepavadin, we have brought to late-stage development the first in a new class of antibiotics which we believe has the potential to be highly effective and against which pathogens may only slowly build resistance,” said CEO Giacomo DiNepi, who is also working on an immuno-oncology drug, balixafortide, for breast cancer.

UBS and Deutsche Bank are joint global coordinators (JGCs) and joint bookrunners for the IPO and Zuercher Kantonalbank and Cantor Fitzgerald co-lead managers. Octavian acts as selling agent, while Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Vischer AG are legal advisers to Polyphor. Linklaters LLP and Bär & Karrer Ltd are representing the JGCs.

The planned IPOs still face some uncertainty, highlighted by HNA Group’s last-minute scrapping of its listing of airline caterer Gategroup last month after it failed to secure as much money for shares as it had hoped.