Lab equipment supplier VWR’s IPO to raise up to $638 mln-Reuters

(Reuters) – Laboratory equipment supplier VWR Corp said it expects its initial public offering of common stock to be priced between $22 and $25 per share, raising up to $638 million.

The company, which is offering all the 25.53 million shares, will be valued at about $3.19 billion at the top end of the expected price range.

Backed by private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners LLC, VWR sells laboratory products such as chemicals, reagents, consumables, durable products and scientific instruments to more than 120,000 customers, primarily in North America and Europe.

The company was sold by German drugmaker Merck KGaA in February 2004 to private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice for $1.68 billion. In 2007, Madison Dearborn bought VWR.

VWR’s parent, Varietal Distribution Holdings LLC, is controlled by Madison Dearborn.

VWR intends to list itself on the Nasdaq under the symbol “VWR.”

VWR Holdings, controlled by Madison Dearborn, will see its stake drop to 80 percent from 100 percent after the offering.

VWR, which operates more than 160 facilities in 34 countries, counts Corning Inc, Eppendorf, GE Healthcare, Merck and Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc among its largest suppliers.

Research firm Frost & Sullivan estimates that the global laboratory products market will continue to grow at about 2 percent annually through 2015, VWR said in the filing.

The company reported a net profit applicable to common stockholders of $9 million for the six months ended June 30, compared with a loss of $5 million a year earlier. Net sale rose about 4 percent to $2.16 billion.

BofA Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs & Co and J.P. Morgan are the lead underwriters to the IPO, Radnor, Pennsylvania-based VWR said. (