November 3, 2014 / 11:41 AM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 1-Molecular Partners resumes share offer at lower price

* Molecular Partners prices IPO at 22.40 Sfr

* Company postponed IPO last month

* Had previously set price range of 28-35 Sfr (Adds CEO comment, Allergan detail, status of bookbuilding)

ZURICH, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Swiss biotech firm Molecular Partners priced its initial public offering (IPO) below its original range as it resumed bookbuilding less than two weeks after putting it on hold due to unfavourable market conditions.

The company had postponed the offer until further notice on Oct. 21, as an equities sell-off hit newly listed stocks and curbed investor demand for more offers.

Biotechnology companies are seen as a particularly risky bet for investors, given the uncertain nature of drug development.

But on Monday Chief Executive Christian Zahnd said a recent upturn in financial markets, combined with support from investors and the uncertain appetite for IPOs in the coming months, had prompted Molecular Partners to resume its share issue.

The company priced the shares at 22.40 Swiss francs, having previously set a range of 28-35 francs. A source familiar with matter said books had been covered on the IPO.

“There is a certain level of uncertainty where the markets will be six or nine months from now,” Zahnd told Reuters.

“And so we clearly said, if there’s the possibility to go out we should do it, as the most important thing for us is to build the basis for the successful long-term development of the company,” he said, adding that the company was “very comfortable” with the final price.

Molecular Partners said it expected gross proceeds of about 96 million Swiss francs ($100 million), before an overallotment option. It had previously hoped to earn 121-151 million francs from the issue.

The money will be used in part to fund product development, research and acquisitions of complementary businesses and technology, the company said.

The bookbuilding period, which began on Monday, is expected to last until last until 1200 GMT on Tuesday and the company expects the shares to make their market debut on the SIX Swiss Exchange on Wednesday.

U.S. health care company Allergan will make an anchor order at the IPO, Molecular Partners said. It did not disclose the size of the order.

JP Morgan is acting as the sole global coordinator and joint bookrunner for the issue while UBS is acting as joint bookrunner.

The faltering appetite for stock market listings in the weeks before Molecular Partners postponed its IPO had prompted several companies including French energy services group Spie and Italian cosmetic firm Intercos to pull their planned flotations.

1 US dollar = 0.9645 Swiss franc Reporting by Joshua Franklin; Additional reporting by Freya Berry in London; Editing by Pravin Char

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