March 12, 2012 / 11:10 AM / 8 years ago

CVC says eyes Evonik IPO by end-June

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Buyout firm CVC CVC.UL said its biggest investment, German chemicals maker Evonik, could be listed by the end of June in an initial public offering (IPO) likely to value the business at more than 10 billion euros ($13.1 billion).

“We are waiting for the best moment (for an IPO). So far we have not had the right market conditions,” Christian Wildmoser, a partner at CVC, told journalists on Monday.

Evonik’s IPO, which is expected to involve the sale of a stake worth over 1 billion euros, had been tipped for last autumn, but was postponed due to jittery markets along with cancellations of planned flotations of companies like Advent’s H.C. Starck and Siemens’s (SIEGn.DE) Osram.

Risk appetite has returned to a certain extent and investors have been rushing to order shares of Switzerland’s DKSH, which helps companies market and distribute goods in Asia, and of Dutch cable company Ziggo ZSHLOG.UL.

Bankers said that since investor sentiment remained wobbly, even successful listings by DKSH and Ziggo were unlikely to lead to a flood of IPO activity, but they may provide a boost to other firms looking at taking the plunge.

CVC takes a more optimistic stance.

“IPO markets are open,” CVC partner Marc Strobel said.

In April 2011, Evonik’s majority owner, the RAG foundation, said it was preparing for a 1 billion euro IPO within 15 months, a timetable that Wildmoser said could still be achieved. CVC owns a blocking minority of 25.01 percent that it bought four years ago for 2.4 billion euros, while RAG holds the rest.

Wildmoser, who also sits on the supervisory board of Evonik and will shortly take over as co-head of CVC’s German activities from founding partner Steve Koltes, said the pricing and amount of shares to be floated depended on market conditions.

He added that CVC would divest one share for every two shares the RAG foundation sells.

CVC is “very satisfied” with the operating performance of Evonik, which will publish 2011 results on Wednesday, Wildmoser said.

“Evonik is doing slightly better in terms of margins than DuPont (DD.N),” he added.

Evonik is the second biggest European chemicals group after BASF, and CVC sees no possibility of selling it to a peer as this would create competition problems.

“We rule out a trade sale,” Wildmoser said.

Separately, CVC is preparing to divest its printing ink maker Flint. The former unit of BASF, which CVC bought in 2004, has recently seen margins improve. In 2011 Flint posted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of 310 million euros, Wildmoser said.

“Both Evonik and Flint are ripe (for an exit)”, Koltes said.

($1 = 0.7622 euros)

Reporting by Arno Schuetze and Philipp Halstrick; Editing by Mark Potter

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