* Applus+ provides industrial testing, inspection services
* Carlyle deal in 2007 valued Applus+ at 1.48 bln euros
* Company buoyed by rise in demand for safety checks
By Tommy Wilkes and Andrés González
LONDON/MADRID, July 9 The private equity owner
of Applus+ is considering a stock market listing for the Spanish
industrial testing, inspection and certification company, three
sources with knowledge of the matter said.
Buyout firm Carlyle Group is looking to cash in on a
rise in demand for more safety checks in industries such as oil
and gas. It would join a growing number of private equity firms
taking advantage of improving stock markets this year to try to
sell their businesses.
It is asking banks to pitch to manage a process which could
see the company go public in Madrid or London early next year,
said one of the sources, who spoke on the condition of
Carlyle declined to comment on the plans.
It bought Applus+ in 2007 in a deal that valued the company,
which has since more than doubled its revenues, at 1.48 billion
euros ($1.9 billion).
Recent disasters like the 2010 BP Gulf of Mexico oil
spill and a growing environmental movement have spurred calls
for better health and safety standards in the energy industry,
boosting the demand for services provided by firms like Applus+.
The Barcelona-based company reported 171 million euros in
earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization
last year, up 22 percent on the year and helped by acquisitions
in what is a fragmented industry.
Applus+ has hired John Hofmeister, a former Shell Oil
president with a long experience of working for public
companies, as a non-executive member of its board, the company
said in a statement on Tuesday. He will help to drive Applus+'s
expansion in North America and in the services it provides for
the oil and gas sector.
Private equity firms buy companies, try to boost their
profitability by cutting costs, merging them with rivals or
shaking up operations, and then sell them on in the hope of
making a return.
Europe saw a pick-up in initial public offerings (IPOs) in
the first six months of 2013 as market confidence improved, with
the amount raised more than doubling year-on-year.
Much of that activity was driven by private equity firms,
which completed 8 billion euros worth of IPOs, including
Partnership Assurance in London and Bpost in
Belgium, eclipsing the 3.7 billion euros raised in 2012,
according to the Centre for Management Buyout Research.
The outlook has become more cloudy since volatility spiked
on concerns the U.S. Federal Reserve may trim back its stimulus
policies. On Tuesday Deutsche Annington made a fresh attempt at
a listing, cutting the money it hopes to raise and the price of
its shares, a week after poor demand forced it to scrap its
But bankers say companies are continuing to prepare to go
public later in the year after the usually quiet summer period.