* List price seen in upper half of indicated range - source
* Book-building set to close later on Wednesday
* Continues rush toward bumper year for Australia listings (Adds detail about share sale, broader IPO market)
By Byron Kaye
SYDNEY, June 4 (Reuters) - Australian private equity firm Ironbridge will sell up to A$300 million ($278 million) of shares in the country’s second-biggest in-vitro fertilisation company in an initial public offering that was already several times oversubscribed before investor registration closed, a banker working on the deal said.
The final price per share in Melbourne-based Monash IVF Group is likely to be between A$1.80 and A$1.90, the banker said on Wednesday. That would price the sale in the upper half of an indicative range set between A$1.65 and A$1.95.
Ironbridge hasn’t yet disclosed its plans for the proceeds from the IPO, which follows last year’s A$300 million listing of a stake in larger domestic rival Virtus Health Ltd. The Monash shares are scheduled to list on June 24.
Australian private equity firms are rushing to sell shares in businesses as the Sydney share market trades near record levels, with recent large-scale listings holding above their issue prices. Australian companies raised $2.89 billion in IPOs in the first five months of 2014, more than five times the amount generated in the same period last year, according to Thomson Reuters data.
When bankers Morgan Stanley and Macquarie Group Ltd began what was meant to be a two-day period for investors to register interest - known as book-building - on Tuesday, they aimed to sell the Monash IVF shares for between A$1.65 and A$1.95, Reuters reported last week.
With hours to go before the scheduled end of book-building on Wednesday, the float was several times oversubscribed with an investor consensus forming around A$1.80 a share, said the banker, who was not authorised to comment publicly.
Ironbridge bought Monash IVF for an undisclosed sum in 2009, and then folded in several other fertility companies. The successful book-building means it is set to sell its stake in the group, which will retain the Monash IVF name, for between A$267 million and A$298 million as planned.
Ironbridge, which is being advised by Fort Street Advisors, expects to keep up to 11 percent of the company. ($1 = 1.0809 Australian Dollars) (Reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)