Exclusive: Montana Aerospace prepares for $1.8 billion stock market listing - sources

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Austrian-Swiss aircraft parts maker Montana Aerospace is preparing for a $1.8 billion stock market listing as its private equity owner seeks to exit while stock market valuations are high, people close to the matter said.

Austrian billionaire Michael Tojner’s private equity vehicle Montana Tech Components is working with UBS and Berenberg on an initial public offering in Zurich, which could value Montana Aerospace at up to 1.5 billion euros ($1.82 billion) and take place before the summer break, one of the sources said.

Montana Aerospace said that it regularly reviews growth financing options but would not comment specifically on an IPO.

“Consolidation is taking place in the aerospace sector - here we regularly review what growth financing options are available in order to be able to take advantage of market opportunities, particularly in the area of mergers & acquisitions,” the company said.

The banks declined to comment.

Montana Aerospace comprises the units UAC, Alu Menziken, Alpine Metal Tech and ASTA, which specialise in aluminium profiles and ready-to-install components mainly for the aerospace industry.

The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 weighed on Montana Aerospace’s sales as demand for new aircraft slowed with lockdowns and travel restrictions and the company had to temporarily close down sites.

However, in its third-quarter 2020 report Montana Tech said that despite a slow uptick in deliveries, the aerospace division secured attractive contracts that will result in significant increases in sales from 2022 onwards.

In 2019, Montana Aerospace posted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of 72 million euros. In addition to those earnings, at the time, Montana Tech Components separately listed 7.5 million in core earnings for Metal Tech and 6.6 million for ASTA.

Montana Tech Components was founded in 2006 by entrepreneur Tojner with the aim of forming an industrials company through acquisitions.

One by one the holding company acquired firms including battery maker Varta Microbattery, metal processing group Alu Menziken, packaging maker Aluflexpack and copper wire firm Asta.

It listed Varta on the Frankfurt stock exchange in 2017 and Aluflexpack in Zurich in 2019.

While Europe is seeing a swathe of initial public offerings, including bumper listings in Frankfurt by telecom towers firm Vantage or used-car trading platform Auto1, Switzerland is seeing less action this year.

One of the few exceptions is contract manufacturer Polypeptide’s planned pre-summer IPO, which it is preparing with the help of Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley, according to people familiar with the matter.

($1 = 0.8238 euros)

Reporting by Arno Schuetze and Oliver Hirt; Editing by Susan Fenton