Sweden overcomes wider listing lull with biggest IPO since 2000: Reuters

Construction products and tool supplier Ahlsell’s market debut on Friday showed Sweden’s IPO market is holding up despite a lackluster climate for listings across most of Europe.

Ahlsell’s initial public offering is Sweden’s biggest since 2000 and comes despite a spate of cancelled IPOs in other parts of Europe due to choppy markets and soft demand.

There was some initial evidence of caution as Ahlsell shares were priced at the bottom of a revised price range of 46 to 50 crowns per share. But after listing at 46 crowns, the shares had risen to 49.50 by 0937 GMT.

Ahlsell, dominant in Sweden, Norway and Finland, said that at 46 crowns, its total market capitalisation would be 20.1 billion crowns ($2.22 billion), making it the biggest listing in Sweden since state-owned telecom operator Telia 16 years ago.

The listing represented about 30 percent of the total number of shares in the company, which were offered by CVC and a number of current and previous board members and management.

“I would say that the company wanted to have backing from key investors and decided not to list too high since the major shareholders were committed to this level. So they went for it,” one fund manager who participated in the IPO said.

Unlike in other markets, the climate for IPOs in Sweden was good and there were more in the pipeline, he added.

Money raised from initial public offerings fell by more than a third to $79.2 billion in the first three quarters, the slowest such period since 2009, Thomson Reuters data showed.

Ahlsell said its listing attracted strong interest from both Swedish and international institutional investors as well as the general public in Sweden, and gives it access to the Swedish and international capital markets as well as allowing it to grow further in the Nordic region.

The company, which has an annual turnover of about 24 billion crowns and employs 5,000 people, was bought by CVC in 2012 for 1.8 billion euros from Cinven and the private equity arm of Goldman Sachs.

Goldman Sachs and Nordea acted as joint global coordinators and bookrunners. Carnegie, Danske Bank, Deutsche Bank, J.P. Morgan and UBS were joint bookrunners and ABG Sundal Collier, DNB Markets and SEB were co-lead managers.