(Adds SEA confirmation, source comments, details)
By Paola Arosio and Elisa Anzolin
MILAN Nov 30 Italian airport operator SEA has
scrapped its initial public offering because of insufficient
demand, the company said on Friday.
"The withdrawal of the global offering comes as the number
of subscriptions came in below the amount on offer," SEA, which
runs Milan's Linate and Malpensa airports, said in a statement.
The company did not provide details on demand levels.
Market sources said that at midday Friday, offers had been
put in for only 30 to 40 percent of the 58.5 million shares on
The offer closed at 1500 GMT after the deadline for
institutional investors to place orders was extended by a few
hours in a last-ditch attempt to attract more interest.
SEA had set a price range of 3.2 euros to 4.3 euros per
share, making the total size of its planned offering as much as
252 million euros ($322 million)..
Eighty-five percent of the share sale, which aimed to float
up to 23.8 percent of the group, was reserved for institutional
investors, with the rest for retail buyers.
The price range valued SEA, which had been aiming for a Dec.
6 stock market debut, at between 800 million euros and 1.075
Banca IMI, Mediobanca, Morgan Stanley
and UniCredit were the global coordinators for
the share offer.
The listing was undermined from the start by a bitter rift
between the company's two biggest shareholders - the city of
Milan and investment fund F2i.
In the statement, SEA said it had mandated its chairman to
take any necessary action to safeguard the company's interests
following the IPO failure.
A source, who declined to be identified, said SEA was
considering a possible complaint against F2i with market
The centre-left mayor of Milan, Giuliano Pisapia, said the
interruption of the listing had damaged not only the company and
Milan but also the whole country.
"The climate had been disturbed, full clarity is needed,"
Pisapia said in a statement.
The city of Milan holds 56 percent of SEA and backed the
listing, which would have been only the third on the Milan stock
exchange since 2011.
But the timing and terms of the share offer were criticised
by F2i, which has a stake of just under 30 percent in SEA and
publicly accused the company of withholding sensitive data,
including negative airport traffic numbers, from its prospectus.
That prompted the market regulator to request SEA to add the
relevant information to its prospectus even as the offer was
being marketed - a major embarrassment.
"The city of Milan will continue to be our majority and
controlling shareholder, and failure to agree with F2i on
certain matters could have a material adverse effect on SEA as
well as its ability to conduct its businesses and pursue its
strategies," the updated prospectus said.
F2i bought its stake in SEA last year for just over 5 euros
a share, and would have had to book a writedown on its accounts
if the share sale had gone ahead at a lower price.
Europe has seen a pickup in IPOs since the start of
September, but those working on deals say investors remain
choosy about which to back.
The withdrawal of SEA's IPO is a big setback for the
cash-strapped province of Milan, which wanted to sell its 14.6
percent stake in the company.
In a separate statement on Friday, the province said it
planned to auction the stake.
Earlier this week, an auction for the privatisation of
Italy's third-biggest motorway operator, where the province is
the majority shareholder, failed.
SEA was forced to scrap plans for a listing last year
because of market turmoil.
(Additional reporting by Giancarlo Navach and Danilo Masoni,
Eriting by Silvia Aloisi, Editing by Elaine Hardcastle and John