COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Danish food ingredients producer Chr. Hansen aims to raise around 450 million euros ($605 million) through an initial public offering, marking a thaw in a Danish IPO market that has been frozen for years.
Chief Executive Lars Frederiksen said in a statement the listing would provide Chr. Hansen with “the right platform to grow both organically and through targeted bolt-on acquisitions.”
Plans for the listing on the Copenhagen bourse, announced on Monday, follow Danish ambulance services group Falck’s announcement last week that it aimed to list on the bourse and offer shares for sale.
Frederiksen said the company was well positioned to capitalise on the attractive growth fundamentals in bioscience-based products for the food, nutritional and animal feed industries.
Chr. Hansen was de-listed in July 2005, when it was bought by French private equity firm PAI Partners for 8.2 billion Danish crowns ($1.5 billion).
“The contemplated initial public offering is expected to generate primary proceeds of around 450 million euros for the repayment of certain indebtedness and is contemplated to include a partial secondary sell-down by our existing shareholder,” it said.
Frederiksen told Reuters PAI partners would remain an owner in the firm after the IPO. He declined to give a timeframe for the offering.
The company appointed Credit Suisse (CSGN.VX) and J.P. Morgan (JPM.N) joint global coordinators and Credit Suisse, Danske Markets (DANSKE.CO), J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley (MS.N) and SEB Enskilda (SEBa.ST) as joint bookrunners.
A source told Reuters in November that Chr. Hansen could be valued at around 2 billion euros in an IPO in 2010.
Separately, Chr. Hansen reported a 43 percent increase in operating profits for its September to February first half to 57 million euros.
Sales rose 7 percent from the same period a year earlier to 256 million euros and the operating profit margin increased to 22 percent from 17 percent, Chr. Hansen said.
“We have experienced strong growth across our business in the first half of the year,” Frederiksen said. “The performance was driven by increased production efficiencies, derived from our large investment in a well invested cultures plant in Denmark, and innovation generated by our R&D spending.”
“In addition, we saw the effect of our determined efforts to increase our presence in developing markets, notably in Asia,” he said in the report.
Chr. Hansen makes ingredients, such as cultures, dairy enzymes and natural colours, for the food, health and animal feed industries in around 140 countries.
Chr. Hansen’s main division, Cultures & Enzymes, accounted for roughly two-thirds of sales in the first half of the year. Its other divisions are Health & Nutrition, and Colors & Blends.
Last year, 55 percent of sales were generated in Europe and 22 percent in North America.
Denmark is also home to food ingredients and enzymes group Danisco (DCO.CO) and industrial enzymes producer Novozymes (NZYMb.CO). (Reporting by Anna Ringstrom, John Acher, Teis Jensen and Ole Mikkelsen; Editing by Mike Nesbit) ($1=5.536 Danish Crowns) ($1=.7439 euros)