Nordic Capital picks banks for Thule listing in Stockholm -sources

Fri Jul 25, 2014 11:39am EDT

* Thule could be worth over 10 bln SEK including debt -sources

* Goldman, Nordea picked to lead IPO -sources

STOCKHOLM, July 25 (Reuters) - Sweden's Nordic Capital is considering listing Thule, a maker of car roof storage boxes, on the Stockholm stock market this year and has picked Goldman Sachs and Nordea to lead the offering, three people familiar with the matter said.

Taking advantage of high stock market valuations and low volatility, private equity firms such as Nordic Capital are scrambling to list their holdings, many of them bought during the deal-making heyday before the financial crisis.

Two of the sources said Thule might be worth more than 10 billion Swedish crowns ($1.5 billion) including debt.

That would value Thule at about 15 times its 2013 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of 644 million crowns.

That would be roughly in line with luggage and bag makers Samsonite and Tumi, with enterprise values of 13 and 14 times last year's earnings, respectively.

The sources declined to be identified, because the plans are not yet public. News of the mandate to Goldman and Nordea was first reported by Mergermarket.

Nordic Capital, Thule and the banks declined to comment.

Thule, which also makes bike racks, bags and other products used for transportation, had sales of 4.3 billion crowns last year and employs around 2,450 people. Nordic Capital has owned Thule since 2007.

The figures exclude Thule's trailer business, which it sold earlier this year, and its towbar business, which it has decided to sell. The deals are part of Thule's strategy to focus on sports and outdoor sectors.

In the Nordic region, a Thule offering adds to a swelling pipeline of private equity-backed listings planned for the second half of 2014 after a bumper start of the year.

A total of $5 billion worth of shares were sold on the stock exchanges in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland in initial public offerings in the first six months of 2014, more than in the previous three years combined, according to Thomson Reuters data, with the lion's share coming from private equity owners.

($1 = 6.8210 Swedish Crowns) (Reporting by Sven Nordenstam; editing by Niklas Pollard and Jane Baird)