* Ship fuel supplier OW Bunker prices its IPO at DKK 145 per share
* Shares opened 17.9 pct. higher than IPO price
* Listing put pressure on competitors’ shares (Adds details)
By Ole Mikkelsen
COPENHAGEN, March 28 (Reuters) - Shares in Danish ship fuel supplier OW Bunker opened 17.9 percent above the initial public offering (IPO) price of 145 crowns on Friday.
The company’s successful debut on Nasdaq OMX Copenhagen reflected Europe’s strong equity capital markets that have begun 2014 with their best annual start since 2007.
Shares in OW Bunker were sold for 145 crowns each, just below the top of the 120-150 crowns range. Some analysts said ahead of the listing that price range was too high when it was compared with price earnings levels for competitors like World Fuel Services Corp, Chemoil Energy and Aegean Marine Petroleum Network.
OW Bunker has a price earnings ratio of 16.4 and a market valuation of $1.05 billion. Comparable figures for World Fuel Services are 13.3 and $3.14 billion and for Aegean Marine Petroleum Network 12.1 and $450 million.
According to analysts from Alm. Brand Markets, the listing of OW Bunker, which has a global market share of around 7 percent, has put pressure on shares of World Fuel Services and Aegean Marine Petroleum over the past week.
The company has issued 758,621 new shares and raised gross proceeds of 110 million crowns, while OW Bunker’s major shareholder, private equity company Altor has sold 17.9 million shares. The company will have a free float of between 52-60 percent, depending on whether an over-allotment option is exercised.
Retail investors in Denmark have been allocated approximately 15 percent of shares in the sale, while 85 percent have been set aside for Danish and international institutional investors.
“We are very pleased with and proud of the substantial interest we have received from private and institutional investors in Denmark as well as from international investors,” Chief Executive Jim Pedersen said in a statement.
Analyst Jacob Pedersen from Sydbank said of the strong debut: “Investors have accepted OW Bunker as both a dividend and a growth story.”
The company’s global market share has increased by 75 percent to 7 percent.
Ship fuel counts for around 70 percent of all costs for shipping companies and in recent years there has been a stronger focus on fuel efficiency.
The world’s biggest container shipping company, Maersk Line, a unit of A.P. Moller-Maersk, reduced bunker consumption for its more than 500 vessels by 12.1 percent in 2013.
OW Bunker’s revenue amounted to $17 billion in 2013 but fuel is sold with a low margin.
At 1246 GMT the company’s shares traded at 166 crowns.
$1 = 5.4340 Danish Crowns Additional reporting by Stine Buch Jacobsen, editing by Terje Solsvik and Stephen Powell