UPDATE 1-German real estate firm LEG picks banks for IPO-sources

Wed Dec 5, 2012 8:41am EST

* LEG eyes possible IPO in Q1 if markets stable - sources

* IPO may value company at close to 5 bln euros - sources

* LEG has reorganised, secured refinancing - spokesman

FRANKFURT, Dec 5 (Reuters) - German real estate group LEG is planning a stock market listing early next year which could value it at close to 5 billion euros ($6.5 billion), two people familiar with the situation told Reuters on Wednesday.

The company has picked Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank as advisers for the initial public offering (IPO), which will proceed if markets remain stable, they added.

A so-called intention to float, usually issued four weeks ahead of a listing, may be put out in January or February, the people said.

LEG owns roughly 90,000 residential apartments, which were valued at about 4.7 billion euros at the end of 2011. The number of apartments in its portfolio makes it larger than listed peer Deutsche Wohnen.

German competitor Deutsche Annington, which is owned by private equity investor Terra Firma, is also looking to float on the stock market, and the first mover may gain an edge ov e r its rival in tapping investor demand, banking sources have said in the past.

LEG's owner, Goldman Sachs, declined to comment, as did Deutsche Bank.

Goldman Sachs's investment fund Whitehall bought LEG in 2008 from the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

A LEG spokesman said a reorganisation of the company has been finalised and its refinancing secured.

"When and if an IPO will take place is up to the owners," he added.

In LEG's flotation, Whitehall will likely only sell a stake of up to a third on the stock exchange with follow-on placements at a later point in time, the sources said.

A flotation in the first quarter is generally seen as challenging, as companies are usually under pressure to present full-year figures in their IPO prospectus.

"However, companies such as real estate groups, which tend to have stable quarterly earnings, can easily rely on nine-month figures," a capital markets banker said, adding this could facilitate a first-quarter listing.

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