October 22, 2013 / 6:29 AM / in 4 years

UPDATE 3-Shares in vodka maker Stock Spirits fall on London debut

* Shares priced at mid-point of original range

* 55 percent stake sold

* Shares open flat on market debut, dip later

By Kylie MacLellan

LONDON, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Drinks maker Stock Spirits fell on its London stock market debut on Tuesday, after the shares were priced at the mid-point of its target range in a sale that valued the company at 470 million pounds ($760 million).

The British based-firm, the biggest vodka producer in Poland and the Czech Republic, said majority owner Oaktree Capital Management and company managers had raised 206.5 million pounds from the offering.

Chief Executive Christopher Heath will bank nearly 2 million pounds from the sale of some of his 2.8 percent stake, according to the company’s offer prospectus.

Stock Spirits, whose drinks range from high-end Polish vodka Czysta de Luxe to fruit-flavoured liqueurs and Italian brandies, was established in 2007 when U.S. private equity firm Oaktree merged Czech business Stock with its Polish counterpart Polmos Lublin.

Oaktree looked at selling the company in 2011, pursuing a possible deal with the world’s biggest spirits group Diageo and then later considering a listing on the Warsaw bourse before eventually deciding to keep hold of it.

Stock Spirits priced the sale of a 55 percent stake at 235 pence per share, the middle of its original 210p to 260p range. There were orders for four times the number of shares on offer at the IPO price, a person familiar with the matter said.

Based on 2012 earnings, as earnings forecasts have not been made available, the offer price puts Stock Spirits on an EV/EBITDA multiple of around 8.4 times.

That is a discount to much larger groups such as Diageo and Pernod, which own large portfolios of top-shelf international brands that reap higher profit margins in developed Western markets.

Those two companies trade on forward EV/EBITDA multiples of 13.9 and 12.6 times respectively, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Stock Spirits shares opened at the offer price, hit a high of 240p but then traded down for most of the day before closing 4 percent lower at 226 pence.

The company raised gross proceeds of 52 million pounds from the sale of new shares to pay down debt.

Following the listing, Oaktree will hold a 38.3 percent stake, although this could fall further if an over-allotment option is exercised, allowing the offer size to be increased by 15 percent if there is strong demand.

JP Morgan and Nomura acted as global co-ordinators on the sale and were also joint bookrunners along with Jefferies. The banks will share a fee of 2.25 percent of the amount raised in the offer, as well as a possible extra discretionary fee of 0.75 percent.

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