UPDATE 1-Spain's eDreams Odigeo valued at $1.5 bln in IPO

Thu Apr 3, 2014 6:45am EDT

(Adds fund manager comment, detail, background)

MADRID, April 3 (Reuters) - Spanish travel firm eDreams Odigeo IPO-ODIG.MC said on Thursday its initial public offering (IPO) was priced at 10.25 euros per share, giving the company an initial market value of about 1.1 billion euros ($1.51 billion).

The company is one of the first to list in Spain since 2011, in a sign of resumed investor appetite for Spanish assets following a severe economic downturn and a European debt crisis.

"There is a kind of fever around buying Spanish assets," said a Madrid-based investment manager at one of Europe's largest pension funds, who said Spanish assets were cheap compared to elsewhere in Europe.

EDreams Odigeo said it sold 4.8 million new shares, while existing shareholders, including funds controlled by private equity firms Permira and Ardian and senior management, sold 31.8 million shares.

The group said it expected the shares to start trading on the Spanish stock exchange on April 8. It plans to use part of the funds raised to pay down debt and lower interest costs.

Prior to exercise of an over-allotment option, the size of the share offering is 376 million euros, the company said, rising to around 433 million euros if the over-allotment is executed.

The free float will be between 35.9 percent and 41.1 percent.

Another company slated to list shortly on the Madrid stock exchange, corporate testing and inspection company Applus+, said on Wednesday it aimed to raise at least 300 million euros in its debut share sale. ($1 = 0.7263 euros) (Reporting by Sonya Dowsett; addtional reporting by Elisabeth O'Leary; editing by Tom Pfeiffer)