UPDATE 1-Denmark's OW Bunker expects market value of up to $1 bln
* Ship fuel supplier OW Bunker to list in Copenhagen
* Private equity firm Altor could gain DKK 3.2 bln from IPO
By Ole Mikkelsen
COPENHAGEN, March 18 (Reuters) - Danish ship fuel supplier OW Bunker is aiming for a stock market value of up to 5.5 billion Danish crowns ($1 billion) when it becomes the latest Scandinavian firm to take advantage of buoyant equity markets to list its shares.
The firm, planning to complete its initial public offering (IPO) and listing in Copenhagen by April 2 at the latest, said on Tuesday it hoped to raise 110 million Danish crowns ($20.5 million) from selling new shares, in part to pay down debt.
Main shareholder private equity company Altor could also raise as much as 3.2 billion crowns if it sells the maximum amount of shares under consideration at the top price.
Scandinavia has seen a string of IPO announcements in recent weeks, including by Danish outsourcing firm ISS, Swedish property firm Hemfosa and Norwegian shipping firm Tanker Investments, as Europe's broader new issues market recovers.
European IPO activity has more than tripled year-on-year to $12 billion so far in 2014, as investors rush to cash in on the region's nascent economic recovery.
OW Bunker & Trading, which accounts for about 7 percent of the global shipping fuel market, set a price range of between 120 crowns and 150 crowns per share for the IPO. The range corresponds to a market value 4.4-5.5 billion crowns.
At the highest price, OW Bunker would be valued at 15.8 times 2013 earnings compared with a sector average of 11.8, according to Thomson Reuters data.
"OW has many good qualities and it may well end up being an exciting growth story over the coming years," said analyst Jacob Pedersen from Sydbank, pointing to the group's revenue growth of 20 percent for each of the past two years.
OW Bunker said it expected between 40 percent and 60 percent of its shares would be floated on the exchange, depending on the final number of shares sold.
Altor plans to sell up to 18.4 million shares with an overallotment option of up to 2.9 million shares which could be exercised if demand is sufficiently high.
"We believe now is the right time for OW Bunker to take this important next step and invite new shareholders to take part in the continued successful development of the company," Deputy Chairman Soren Johansen said in a statement.
Other leading players in the industry include World Fuel Services Corp, Chemoil Energy and Aegean Marine Petroleum Network.
Altor has owned OW Bunker since buying its parent Wrist Group in July 2007. No indication was given on the price Altor paid, although local media said it could have been anywhere between 1 billion and 2 billion crowns.
Carnegie and Morgan Stanley are coordinating the IPO, while Nordea is also joint bookrunner. ABG Sundal Collier is co-lead manager.