April 25, 2018 / 10:03 AM / a year ago

South African glass bottle maker Consol cans $240 million IPO plans

FILE PHOTO: A worker sweeps in front of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), in this picture taken March 23, 2016. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo/File Photo

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African glass bottle maker Consol [CNSOLG.UL] pulled a planned $240 million Johannesburg stock market flotation on Wednesday, citing challenging market conditions.

In what would have been South Africa’s biggest initial public offering so far this year, Consol had hoped to ride investor confidence in new President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has pledged to revive the ailing economy.

Business leaders in Africa’s most industrialized economy have consistently expressed their trust in Ramaphosa, leading to stocks hitting a string a record highs earlier in the year.

However, the JSE All-share index, the broadest measure of stock market performance, is down roughly 7 percent from a peak notched up in January due to weak global sentiment and profit taking.

Consol, bought out for 6.1 billion rand in 2007 by Brait (BATJ.J) and the private equity arm of Old Mutual and Sanlam (SLMJ.J), priced its IPO at between 1.50 rand and 6.50 rand to raise as much as 3 billion rand ($240.98 million).

“The prevailing environment is not conducive to the offer achieving valuation objectives,” the company said in a statement. “It would not be in the best interests of the company to proceed with the offer at the current time.”

The top-end of the range would have valued the company at roughly 10 billion rand, or about 6 times its 2017 core earnings of 1.6 billion rand.

Consol, which counts blue-chip companies such as Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI.BR), Diageo (DGE.L) and Heineken (HEIO.AS) among its customers, is one of the biggest glass packagers in sub-Saharan Africa. It has plants in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria, and is also building a factory in Ethiopia.

($1 = 12.4492 rand)

Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng; Editing by Ed Stoddard and Alexandra Hudson

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