Alfa Financial Software shares rise sharply on London debut

LONDON (Reuters) - Shares in Alfa Financial ALFAAL.L, which provides software for the asset finance industry, rose sharply on its debut on Friday having been priced at 325 pence per share, making it the biggest listing in London this year by market capitalization.

Shares trading on the London Stock Exchange were up 27.7 percent by 0904 GMT. Unconditional trading was expected to take place on June 1.

Alfa’s listing price gives it a market capitalization of 975 million pounds ($1.26 billion), it said in a statement.

Sources had previously said the company, which counts Bank of America and Mercedes-Benz as customers and Old Mutual and Henderson as investors, was aiming for a valuation of at least 800 million pounds.

London-based Alfa, which made adjusted earnings before interest and tax of 32.8 million pounds in 2016, has said it hopes the listing will help it win market share by attracting new customers looking to replace legacy or in-house systems that have failed to keep up with evolving regulations.

Uncertainty around Britain’s future outside the EU single market has dampened investor confidence. Funds raised by British firms holding IPOs fell 28 percent in the first quarter from a year ago, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Russia’s En+ was targeting a listing in Moscow with global depositary receipts in London as early as the summer.

Blackstone-owned warehouse company Logicor, which could be valued at 13 billion euros ($14.6 billion), was pursuing a dual track process, with a potential London IPO expected in the third quarter.

Alfa shareholder CHP Software and Consulting Limited, which is majority owned by its Executive Chairman Andrew Page, will receive gross proceeds of around 254 million pounds excluding fees and expenses, and assuming no exercise of the over-allotment option, which allows underwriters to issue more shares than originally planned.

Barclays and Numis are acting as joint bookrunners for the IPO, while Rothschild is acting as financial adviser.

Reporting by Clara Denina and Dasha Afanasieva, editing by Ed Osmond