Australian PE firm Ironbridge to list Monash IVF for $277 mln

SYDNEY Mon May 26, 2014 10:26pm EDT

SYDNEY May 27 (Reuters) - Australian private equity firm Ironbridge plans to sell the country's No. 2 fertility company in a float worth up to A$300 million ($277.47 million), joining a stampede of IPO activity in a buoyant sharemarket, a source involved in the deal said.

Ironbridge bought Melbourne-based Monash IVF for an undisclosed sum in 2009, along with several other fertility companies. It plans to sell a two-thirds stake in the group using the Monash IVF name for between A$267 million and A$298 million, said the source who declined to be identified because they were not authorised to comment publicly.

Australian private equity firms are increasingly turning to IPO exits as the sharemarket trades near record levels. IPO issuance in the country is headed for its biggest year in half a decade, with the amount raised more than doubling in the first quarter.

Last week, cleaner-caterer Spotless Group Ltd and Genworth Mortgage Insurance Australia Ltd raised A$1.5 billion in separate floats, more than doubling the value of Australian listings since the start of the year.

The float of Monash IVF, which credits itself with the world's first IVF pregnancy in 1973, would give the total company a market capitalisation of A$442 million, the source said, smaller than rival Virtus Health Ltd which listed in June 2013.

Morgan Stanley and Macquarie Group Ltd are arranging the sale with a bookbuild scheduled for June 3 ahead of a listing on June 24.

Ironbridge, which is being advised by Fort Street Advisors, expects to keep up to 11 percent of the company. ($1 = 1.0812 Australian Dollars) (Editing by Stephen Coates)