(Reuters) – Energy services group Spie pulled its plan to raise funds on the stock market on Thursday, cancelling what would have been France’s biggest listing since before the financial crisis as investor appetite wanes.
The prospect of an interest rate rise in the United States and worsening economic outlook in Germany are among the reasons cited by analysts for an equities sell-off that has hit newly listed stocks and curbed investor demand for more offers.
Spie pulled the sale of up to 1.2 billion euros (US$1.5 billion) worth of new and existing shares on the day the offer was due to close. Citing “volatile market conditions”, it said the fund raising was postponed, but did not offer a new date.
The initial public offering (IPO) would have been France’s biggest since that of French bank Natixis in December 2006, which raised 4.6 billion euros.
Sources told Reuters on Wednesday that the IPO had been struggling to attract investors.
They said the disappointing debuts of European companies such as Germany’s Rocket Internet were causing investors to shy away from share offers. Rocket and online fashion retailer Zalando lost over a fifth of their value after their listings last week.
On Wall Street, six of the 11 U.S. IPOs priced since early last week have been trading below their initial price.
French stocks, meanwhile, have suffered steep losses since early September, with Paris’ blue-chip CAC 40 index down 7 percent in the past five weeks.
Spie’s struggles could have an impact on the plans of French laundry group Elis to float this autumn, industry sources said.
In Italy earlier this week, Internet company Italiaonline pulled its planned listing, while make-up company Intercos was expected to price its IPO at the lowest end of the range.
Spie was created in 1900 to work on the electrical infrastructure of the Paris Metro, its name deriving from Societe Parisienne pour l’Industrie Electrique. It was for a while part of the listed conglomerate Spie Batignolles, but Spie and Batignolles went their separate ways in 2003.
The company counts large energy companies such as Total and EDF among its customers. It runs the air conditioning system for London’s Tate Gallery and maintains the training facilities for Manchester United Football Club .
Spie, owned by private equity firms Ardian and Clayton Dubilier & Rice and Canadian investment fund Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, had set a price range of 15-18.30 euros a share.
By Freya Berry and Blaise Robinson
(Additional reporting by Matthieu Protard; Writing by Andrew Callus; Editing by James Regan and Pravin Char)
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