(Adds eDreams Odigeo final price, context on other listings,
By Freya Berry and Robert Hetz
MADRID, April 2 Two Spanish companies are
preparing to become the first to launch on Spain's stock market
since 2011, providing further evidence of a tentative economic
recovery after a deep recession.
Corporate testing and inspection company Applus+
said on Wednesday it aims to raise at least 300
million euros ($413.8 million) in its debut share sale.
Online travel reservations firm eDreams Odigeo
is also selling 370 million euros of shares, including 50
million euros in new shares, and books on the offering closed on
Wednesday, sources close to the process said.
Spain, which came close to requesting an international
rescue in 2012, is slowly emerging from a long recession and
foreign investors have started betting on Spanish banks and
companies again, despite stubbornly high unemployment.
"It's another boost for Spain's financial market," said
Daniel Pingarron, an analyst at brokerage IG in Madrid.
"Some months ago we started noticing that foreign investors
were returning, first to the debt market, then to the property
sector and now also to the stock market."
Spain's once-booming real estate market crashed in 2008,
sending developers to the wall and leaving banks lumbered with
repossessed housing and soured loans.
Some lenders needed state bail-outs, including Bankia
, which was rescued in 2012 less than a year after its
initial public offering (IPO). Hundreds of thousands of ordinary
Spaniards who had bought Bankia shares lost money.
No Spanish company has attempted an IPO since mid-2011.
But several real estate investment funds - listed vehicles
that are only just taking off in Spain - have raised money in
stock market flotations in recent weeks, attracting prominent
investors such as U.S billionaire George Soros and bond fund
The state also started selling down its majority stake in
Bankia, earlier than many bankers and investors had expected,
and it turned a small profit through a share offering in
Other rescued lenders are now also eyeing the stock market,
and state-backed Banco Mare Nostrum (BMN) said on Wednesday it
would start working on a flotation as of next year.
"There will be appetite and capital from foreign investors,
we are already seeing it as there people approaching us with
enquiries," BMN's Chairman Carlos Egea told journalists on the
sidelines of an event in Madrid.
Spain's index of 35 most-traded companies has gained
5.5 percent so far this year, after rising 21 percent in 2013.
BACK ON TRACK
Applus+, which is controlled by private equity firm Carlyle
, said it will use the money from its flotation mainly to
pay off debt and to fund further expansion.
EDreams Odigeo, meanwhile, is expected to price its IPO at
10.25 euros a share, a source familiar with the matter said on
Wednesday, valuing the company at 1.075 billion euros.
In both cases shares are being sold to institutional
Spain is trying to get its indebted economy back on track,
after it emerged from two-year recession in the second half of
last year, and the government is forecasting growth of 1 percent
The number of jobless in Spain fell in March for the second
straight month and the workforce grew.
Still, the jobless level remains among the highest in the
European Union and the government just missed its budget deficit
target of 6.6 percent of GDP for 2013. It has promised to cut
the shortfall to 3 percent by 2016.
Many Spaniards say they have not seen any economic
improvement but an improved corporate outlook should help job
creation and boost tax revenues.
Applus+ did not specify how much total proceeds of the sale
were likely to be.
A source told Reuters last month that the company is
targeting a valuation of approximately 2.2 billion euros.
. The company has financial debts with banks of
about 900 million euros.
Applus+ provides services for the energy, infrastructure and
automotive sectors to manage risk, quality and safety. It
reported revenue of 1.6 billion euros and gross operating profit
of 200 million euros for 2013 and employed 19,000 staff.
The process still requires the approval of Spain's stock
market commission and the publication of a prospectus. Morgan
Stanley and UBS are joint global coordinators.
($1 = 0.7249 Euros)
(Additional reporting by Jesus Aguado, Writing by Elisabeth
O'Leary and Sarah White; Editing by Anna Willard)