AutoStore's Oslo IPO plan values robotics firm at up to $12 billion

OSLO (Reuters) -Robotics firm AutoStore said on Friday its planned stock market listing could value the SoftBank-backed company at up to 103 billion Norwegian crowns ($12.0 billion), making it the biggest in Norway for two decades.

AutoStore announced plans on Sept. 28 for an initial public offering (IPO) to take place on the Euronext Oslo stock exchange in October, with the aim of raising $315 million in fresh cash and allowing existing owners to sell some holdings.

The company said shares will be sold at 27-31 Norwegian crowns each, valuing the company at between 90 billion and 103 billion crowns, with an aim to start trading on Oct. 20.

Founded in 1996, AutoStore has 20,000 robots deployed across more than 35 countries to automate warehouses. The company uses robots to store and retrieve products, allowing customers to store four times the inventory in the same space.

In April, SoftBank bought here a 40% stake in the Norwegian company for $2.8 billion, valuing AutoStore at about $7 billion at the time. Thomas H. Lee Partners and EQT are among its other investors.

AutoStore could become Norway’s most valuable new listing since the 2001 debut of Statoil, now known as Equinor, which was valued at 151 billion crowns at the time of its IPO.

As part of the IPO, Thomas H. Lee Partners, EQT and some individual shareholders will sell some of their stock, worth between 10.8 billion and 12.8 billion crowns.

Bankers involved in the deal will also be given an over-allotment option, also known as a Greenshoe, of up to 15% of the company’s shares, AutoStore said.

“After completion of the offering ... it is expected that the free float of AutoStore will be approximately 15% of the shares in the company, increasing to 17.25% if the Greenshoe Option is utilized in full,” it added.

Four cornerstone investors, Alecta Pensionsforsakring, FIL Investments, Mawer Investment Management and WCM Investment Management, each committed to invest $200 million, AutoStore said.

The company, whose customers include ASDA, Gucci and Lufthansa, plans to use to proceeds from the IPO to reduce debt, invest in growth and allow share sales by its investors.

AutoStore expects revenue of about $300 million in 2021 and more than $500 million in 2022 with a project pipeline worth $3.4 billion across 2,000 projects.

It reported net revenue of $182.1 million last year.

Bankers from Carnegie, J.P Morgan, Morgan Stanley, ABG Sundal Collier, Citigroup, Jefferies, Mizuho Securities, SpareBank 1 Markets and Moelis & Company are involved in the deal, AutoStore said.

($1 = 8.5840 Norwegian crowns)

Reporting by Terje Solsvik, editing by Gwladys Fouche, Jason Neely and Keith Weir