GIC, Ironbridge plan IPO of Australian car-lease firm FleetPartners-Reuters

(Reuters) – Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC and Australian private equity firm Ironbridge Capital are planning an initial public offering of FleetPartners Ltd in a deal that would value the car leasing company at about $615 million, a source said.

The IPO was expected as early as April, the person, who had direct knowledge of the matter, told Reuters on Wednesday.

It was not clear yet how much of the company was up for sale but the source said between 50 and 80 percent is likely to be on the block. He did not want to be named as the transaction was confidential.

“We are still trying to determine the size of the IPO, we don’t know yet how much of the stake would be sold down. It’s a very broad range at the moment,” the executive said by phone.

Ironbridge and FleetPartners could not be immediately reached for comment while a GIC spokeswoman declined to comment.

Credit Suisse is handling the share sale of FleetPartners, which manages over 50,000 vehicles across Australia and New Zealand.

Car leasing is a competitive industry in Australia, with more than 50 players operating in the segment. FleetPartners’ listed peer Mcmillan Shakespeare Ltd trades at 10.4 times earnings and has a return on equity of over 26 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Analysts say the sector is ripe for consolidation with the top five players controlling 56 percent of the market and more than 50 players accounting for the remainder.

GIC and Ironbridge Capital led a consortium which bought FleetPartners in September 2008. It was formerly the fleet leasing division of ANZ Banking Group Ltd.