ISS Sets Price Range for $2.5B I.P.O.

In what is expected to be the largest European I.P.O. so far this year, Denmark’s ISS set a price range of 100 to 135 Danish crowns ($18.70 to $25.25) per share for its $2.5 billion Copenhagen listing, Reuters reported. The outsourcing company is targeting proceeds of up to 13.3 billion Danish crowns ($2.5 billion) from the sale of new shares, in order to pay down debt, Reuters said. Private equity investors Goldman Sachs and EQT bought ISS in a 2005 leveraged buyout.

(Reuters) – Denmark’s ISS set a price range of 100 to 135 Danish crowns per share for its $2.5 billion Copenhagen listing, on track to be Europe’s biggest initial public offering (IPO) so far this year.

The international outsourcing group is targeting proceeds of not more than 13.3 billion Danish crowns ($2.5 billion) from the sale of new shares to pay down debt. It will adjust the price and number of shares sold to meet that target depending on the level of investor interest, a source close to the deal said.

It will sell between 98.5 and 133 million new shares in the offering, which will also include up to 4 million existing shares, sold by the firm’s private equity owners as part of a management share scheme.

Private equity owners Goldman Sachs (GS.N) and Swedish group EQT, who bought ISS in a leveraged buyout in 2005, will also offer a 13.3 million share overallotment option, but will retain the rest of their holding, with their stock subject to a six-month lock-up period after the listing.

If the overallotment option is exercised, the offering will represent a sale of up to 63.7 percent in the company — one of the world’s biggest private-sector employers with more than 500,000 workers.

Order books on the share sale, which gives the firm an equity value of between 23.3 billion and 26.7 billion Danish crowns, will be open from March 8 to March 17.

Releasing its annual report earlier on Thursday, ISS said now was the right time to list.

“The contemplated IPO is expected to support ISS’s future growth and operational strategy, advance the company’s public and commercial profile, and provide improved access to public capital markets along with a diversified base of new Danish and international shareholders,” it said.

ISS’s senior debt facilities stood at 18 billion crowns at the end of 2010, making up 59 percent of ISS’s total net debt. The IPO would cut the company’s debt/EBITDA ratio to 3.5 from 6. (Additional reporting by Peter Levring, Editing by Dan Lalor and Andrew Callus) ($1 = 5.369 Danish crowns)