May 9, 2018 / 1:32 PM / a year ago

Top shareholder in Turkey's Sok ups demand for IPO, bookrunner says

ISTANBUL, May 9 (Reuters) - The largest shareholder in Turkish discount grocer Sok Marketler has placed an order for a further $100 million in its upcoming stock market listing, one of the bookrunners said on Wednesday, a move that could help boost demand for the flotation.

The outlook for Sok’s 2.6 billion lira ($608 million) initial public offering has been clouded after two Turkish clothing retailers - Beymen Magazacilik and DeFacto - cancelled their plans to list, citing low demand.

The cooling sentiment has not been confined to Turkey. Springer Nature, the publisher of science magazines Nature and Scientific American, this week cancelled a 3.2 billion euro ($3.80 billion) flotation on weak investor demand, dealing a heavy blow to Germany’s vibrant IPO season.

The bookrunner on the Sok deal said the company’s top shareholder, Gozde Girisim, has placed “a further order” in the international bookbuilding for $100 million. Any shares acquired by it will be subject to a lockup of 18 months, it said.

Gozde Girisim is the investment arm of food giant Yildiz Holding, which owns Godiva chocolate and McVitie’s biscuits.

Sok said on Monday it planned to allocate 85 percent of its shares to foreign investors. It is due to start trading on the Istanbul bourse on May 16. Bookrunners have previously said that proceeds from the flotation would be used to repay all of its current debt.

At the end of 2017, Sok operated 5,100 stores and employed more than 24,000 people. ($1 = 4.2747 liras) ($1 = 0.8420 euros) (Additional reporting by Dasha Afanasieva in London; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Daren Butler)

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