Matas float heralds revival of Danish share issues

COPENHAGEN, June 6 Thu Jun 6, 2013 7:54am EDT

COPENHAGEN, June 6 (Reuters) - The public offering of Danish retailer Matas, the country's first in two years, is expected to be followed by up to five new listings this year, market experts said.

An 11 percent rise in the Copenhagen stock exchange's main index since the start of the year has helped increase investors' appetite for shares and improve the prospects for potential stock offerings.

"We hope for and expect around a handful of new companies to be listed this year," said chief executive of Nasdaq OMX Copenhagen, Bjorn Sibbern.

The Danish government confirmed a few months ago that state owned Dong Energy was among those in line for an initial public offering (IPO) "when conditions were viewed as attractive".

"I think we are standing at the beginning of a public market which will be much more active in Denmark and in the Nordic countries in the next 24 months," said head of corporate and institutional banking at Danske Bank, Mikael Ericson.

Among others eyeing up possible flotations is Welltec , developer of well technology and solutions for the oil and gas industry.

"A listing is an option in the future," said Welltec's Chief Financial Officer, Jesper Helmuth Larsen, adding the company had not yet initiated the process but was monitoring the market.

Also facilities group ISS said in February it was looking at an IPO "within a few years".

Its initial plan to list on the Copenhagen stock exchange was pulled in March 2011 because of volatile market conditions.

"There are a number of companies that are ready, and have been ready for a long time," said head of the Danish Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (DVCA), Jannick Nytoft.

"The stock exchange is behaving nicely and is on the rise, and that makes it more attractive in terms of pricing and in terms of an IPO," Nytoft said.

MATAS FIRST IN LINE

The country's biggest health and beauty products retailer, Matas, said last week it was contemplating an IPO as it wanted to raise money to support future growth, confirming an earlier Reuters story.

Matas is expected to list within weeks, according to sources, selling some of the existing shares held by the company's two main shareholders CVC Capital Partners which paid 5.2 billion crowns in 2007 for a 66 percent stake in Matas and former store owners who hold a 28.6 percent stake.

"Matas is a really good case to open the Danish IPO market again because it is not a cyclical business," said Jorgen Hoholt, head of corporate and institutional banking in Nordea Bank Denmark, who expects two to three more listings this year.

The most recent listing on the Copenhagen exchange was of Danish bank Danske Andelskassers Bank in July 2011, whose stock has risen three percent since the start of 2013 but is still down 66 percent from its listing price.

Many investors ran for cover following the debut of Danish jewellery maker Pandora in 2010. The company's shares lost over 80 percent in less than a year following a failed strategy that priced its jewellery too high for core customers.

Two weeks ago, the majority shareholder of Pandora grabbed the opportunity to sell about 10 percent of shares in the company to institutional investors.

The plan was announced shortly after Pandora's shares topped 210 Danish crowns ($36.86) for the first time in two years, matching the share price at which the company was introduced to the stock market.

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