3D printer maker SLM plans stock market float in Frankfurt

FRANKFURT, April 7 Mon Apr 7, 2014 4:13am EDT

FRANKFURT, April 7 (Reuters) - German 3D printer maker SLM Solutions is planning to float its shares on the Frankfurt stock exchange, aiming to raise 75 million euros ($103 million) to finance further growth.

The flotation comes amid growing interest in the potential of 3D printing, used to create solid objects from a digital model by laying down successive thin layers of material. The technology has been around for more than 25 years but has only recently caught the imagination of investors and users.

Shares of 3D printer makers such as 3D Systems, Stratasys, ExOne and U.S.-listed German peer Voxeljet have soared as the companies adapt to the consumer market a technology used by manufacturers for decades.

Luebeck, Germany-based SLM specialises in selective laser melting (SLM) machines, which use a laser beam to fuse fine metallic powders together and create a three-dimensional object.

"We believe the market for metal-based 3D printing is at an inflection point, with the technology being ready for industrial serial production," Chief Executive Markus Rechlin said in SLM'S "intention to float" statement, which was published on Monday.

A listing usually takes place about four weeks after a company announces plans to list.

SLM has hired Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank to organise the flotation, with BHF, Canaccord Genuity and Equinet Bank also having roles.

It generated 21.6 million euros of revenue in 2013, 2.5 million euros in adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) and made a net loss of 0.4 million euros. It has 80 employees.

The group has clients in the automotive, aviation, construction and consumer electronics industries, but also among medical engineering companies that use the technology to produce titanium alloy implants.

Last year, German mid-market buyout group DPE Deutsche Private Equity bought a 57 percent stake of SLM Solutions and injected fresh capital to be used for further expansion. The rest of the company is owned by its founding partners.

The existing shareholders have not yet decided whether they want to sell any of their shares in the IPO, a spokesman for the company said.

SLM's listed peers trade at between 30 and 90 times their expected annual earnings, according to Reuters data, though some of those valuations have come down recently after scrutiny of the technology.

Citron Research, run by California-based investor and noted short-seller Andrew Left, said they were vastly overvalued and the technology had been hyped.

($1 = 0.7192 euros) (Editing by David Holmes)

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