Diamond Resorts shares rise 5 percent in debut

(Reuters) - Shares of Diamond Resorts International Inc DRII.N rose as much as 5 percent in their market debut on Friday after the vacation timeshare company's initial public offering priced well below the expected range.

Diamond Resorts raised $217 million by selling 15.5 million shares at $14 each, below the expected price range of $16-18.

The shares touched a high of $14.73 in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange, valuing the Las Vegas-based company at $1.07 billion.

Diamond owns and operates 79 resorts in the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean and Europe. Its timeshare vacation business accounts for 72 percent of overall revenue, with the rest coming from its financing and hospitality businesses.

The timeshare vacation business is growing quickly. Sales in the United States rose 7.5 percent in the first quarter of 2013 compared with a year earlier, according to the American Resort Development Association.

Diamond Resorts recorded a profit of $2.3 million in the quarter ended March 31, compared with a net loss of $9.6 million in the same quarter last year. Revenue rose 41 percent to $153.5 million.

The company said it plans to use part of the proceeds from the IPO to repay debt and for expansion.

Diamond Resorts lost out to BFC Financial Corp BFCF.PK last year in a race to buy rival Bluegreen Corp.

Credit Suisse Securities was lead underwriter to the offering.

Diamond Resorts’ shares were trading at $14.50 after about 30 minutes. Nearly 1.6 million shares had changed hands.

Shares of industrial real estate investment trust Rexford Industrial Realty Inc REXR.N, which also began trading on Friday, rose as much as 5 percent to $14.80.

The 16 million shares on offer were priced at $14 each, the midpoint of the expected range, raising $224 million.

Reporting By Varun Aggarwal in Bangalore; Editing by Ted Kerr