PE-Backed Falck Explores IPO

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Danish ambulance and rescue service Falck A/S said on Thursday it was exploring a public stock offering and a listing on the Copenhagen bourse, and analysts said it could be the biggest Danish offering in years.

Sydbank analyst Soren Hansen estimated Falck’s market capitalisation at between 9 billion and 10 billion Danish crowns ($1.63 billion – $1.81 billion).

“The share offering is expected to take place in the form of a sale of existing shares in a public offering to private and institutional investors in Denmark and a private placement to qualified institutional investors in certain other jurisdictions,” Falck said in statement.

Danske Markets, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs International have been chosen as joint global coordinators and joint bookrunners, said Falck, which is owned by private equity groups.

Handelsbanken Capital Markets, RBS and SEB Enskilda are appointed co-lead managers, it said.

Falck says it is the biggest privately owned ambulance company in Europe, providing ambulance services to the general public in seven countries.

Its principal shareholders are Nordic Capital Fund V and ATP Private Equity Partners.

Falck was spun off from the security company formed by the 2004 takeover of Group 4 Falck by Britain’s Securicor, which is now called G4S (GFS.L)(G4S.CO).

For Falck, a new listing would mean rejoining the stock exchange, as it was listed from 1995 to 2005, exiting the exchange after the spin-off of Group 4 Falck and buyout of the remaining operations by Nordic Capital.

The most recent major IPO in Denmark was insurance company TrygVesta (TRYG.CO) in 2005.

Sydbank’s Hansen said comparable companies, such as G4S and Swedish security group Securitas (SECUb.ST), trade at around 8 times earnings.

“Falck is more profitable than G4S, and should therefore trade at a higher multiple,” Hansen said. “With estimated EBITDA of 1.1 billion crowns in 2010 and a ‘listing discount’, I would estimate the value at between 9 and 10 billion crowns.”

Falck said in December its owners were planning an IPO. (Reporting by John Acher and Ole Mikkelsen)