SYDNEY May 21 Australian private equity giant
Pacific Equity Partners will raise A$954 million ($884.12
million) selling shares of cleaning and catering company
Spotless Group Ltd in the country's biggest IPO in
almost four years, a source close to the deal told Reuters.
Bankers for PEP closed a bookbuild an hour earlier than
planned on Wednesday after investors subscribed for "multiple
times" the number of shares on offer as PEP sells a 50.6 percent
stake of the company, said the source, who was not authorised to
comment publicly on the deal.
Including the 49.4 percent stake PEP has said it will keep,
the float will value Melbourne-based Spotless at A$1.9 billion
if its shares hold their issue price when they start trading on
PEP took Spotless private for A$723 million in August 2012
and says it will triple earnings by 2015 by stripping costs and
selling underperforming divisions.
Australia's IPO market is continuing to heat up as it trades
around record levels following five years of erratic
performance. A day before the Spotless bookbuild, shares in
mortgage insurer Genworth Australia rose 14 percent on
their first day of trading in a A$583 million listing.
Shares of aged care provider Japara Health, the
next biggest Australian float after Genworth having raised A$525
million, have traded consistently above their issue price since
listing on April 17.
Not including the A$1.5 billion raised by Spotless and
Genworth, IPO issuance in Australia since the beginning of the
year has more than doubled to $1.2 billion over the same period
in 2013, according to Thomson Reuters data. Companies raised $6
billion from new listings in 2013, the best year since 2010.
Bankers will issue Spotless shares for A$1.60 each, at the
bottom of a A$1.60-A$1.80 range indicated in its prospectus, but
will sell 596 million shares, the maximum number available,
because of the high demand, the source said.
The float will be closely watched by private equity
behemoths TPG and Carlyle which are expected to
decide in June whether to sell Australian healthcare provider
Healthscope in a public listing or via private sale, valued at
an estimated A$4 billion.
The Australian government will also be watching following
its announcement in March it will sell state-owned health
insurer Medibank Private in a listing expected to fetch A$4
($1 = 1.0790 Australian dollars)
(Reporting By Byron Kaye; Editing by Matt Driskill)