MILAN Rottapharm Madaus aims to float a 40 percent stake in an initial public offering that values the Italian pharmaceutical group at up to 2.2 billion euros ($3 billion), three sources close to the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.
Rottapharm, which is controlled by Italy's Rovati family, said earlier on Wednesday that it had filed a request to list its shares on the Milan stock exchange.
"The company aims to reach a market capitalization of between 1.9-2.2 billion euros," one of the sources said, adding that the shares offered in the listing will be sold by existing investors.
The company could not be reached for comment.
The listing could happen in the first half of July, one of the sources said.
The announcement of a listing in Italy came as a surprise after recent press reports indicated the larger London stock exchange as the listing destination in the company's sights.
Rottapharm, which started in 1961 with the creation of a small independent research laboratory, failed to bring on board a private equity partner due to differences over governance almost two years ago.
Sources close to the matter said at the time that private equity funds Avista and Clessidra had tentatively agreed to buy a 50 percent stake in a deal, valuing the whole company at about 1.8 billion euros.
The expansion of Rottapharm, based in the northern Italian city of Monza, culminated in 2007 when it acquired German multinational Madaus Pharma. Now it is a global player with a presence in more than 85 countries.
Comparable companies include Reckitt Benckiser (RB.L), Perrigo (PRGO.N) and Prestige Brands (PBH.N), one of the sources said, and Beiersdorf's off-the-shelf pharmaceutical business and the prescription unit of Recordati (RECI.MI) were also similar.
Based on net debt, which according to one of the sources was 247 million euros at the end of 2013, the company's enterprise value would be around 2.15-2.45 billion euros, 13-15 times its estimated 2013 core profit of 160 million euros.
Italian press had reported that the company has 436 million euros in debt.
Recordati (RECI.MI), the biggest listed Italian pharmaceutical group, at the end of 2013 had an EV/EBITDA multiple of around 11 times.
Global coordinators are Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan. They will also act as joint bookrunners along with Jefferies, Morgan Stanley and Banca IMI (ISP.MI).
(Writing by Danilo Masoni; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Sonya Hepinstall)