Chr. Hansen Prices IPO

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Danish food ingredients group Chr. Hansen (CHRH.CO) said it saw strong demand for its initial public offering of stock priced at the low end of the expected range, marking a thaw in the Danish IPO market after years of inactivity.

It priced the IPO at 90 crowns per share, valuing the company at about 12.42 billion Danish crowns ($2 billion), towards the low end of an earlier indicated range of 86 to 117 crowns.

The share opened at 94 crowns and climbed to 96.25 by 0726 GMT.

“Despite volatile markets, the offering has attracted strong demand from Danish and international institutional investors as well as from Danish retail investors,” Chr. Hansen Holding A/S said in a statement on Thursday.

It said 37.2 million new shares would be issued by the company, raising net proceeds of about 3.15 billion crowns, and the current owners would sell about 18.6 million shares.

Chr. Hansen has been owned by private equity investors PAI partners, which bought the company in 2005. The seller will retain about 55.6 percent of the stock if an overallotment option is fully exercised, Chr. Hansen said.

“We believe that Chr. Hansen has a strong future ahead of it as a publicly listed company and will be retaining a significant stake in the business going forward,” Frederic Stevenin, partner at PAI partners, said in the statement. 

The free float will be 42.3 percent assuming an overallotment is exercised, the company said.

About 5,000 investors have been allocated shares, with about 90 percent of the stock sold to Danish and international institutional investors and about 10 percent to retail investors in Denmark, it said.

Shares sold in the primary offering are expected to be delivered on or about June 8, it said.

Credit Suisse Securities and J.P. Morgan Securities acted as joint global coordinators. Credit Suisse, Danske Markets, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley & Co. International and SEB Enskilda were joint bookrunners, and Carnegie Bank and Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank were co-lead managers.

(Reporting by John Acher; Editing by Hans Peters) ($1=6.084 Danish Crown)