* Shares double in market debut, company worth around $400 mln
* Analysts question whether IPO price too low
* Voxeljet chasing industrial prototype, machine tools markets (Adds analyst comment)
By Varun Aggarwal
Oct 18 (Reuters) - Shares of Voxeljet AG, a German maker of commercial 3D printers that created Aston Martin copies for a James Bond film, doubled in their market debut as investors sought shares in an industry out to change the way products are designed and made.
Voxeljet’s shares jumped to a high of $27 in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange, raising questions about whether the offering had been priced too low.
The company and shareholders raised $84.5 million after selling 6.5 million American Depositary Shares (ADS) at $13 each, the low end of the pricing range.
“It was a surprise to see the stock priced at the lower end of the range,” said Francis Gaskins, a partner at IPO research company IPODesktop.com.
“It is a small company with a new product that has the largest 3D print capacity in the industry and therefore has good growth potential.”
3D printing technology, used to create solid objects from a digital model by laying down successive thin layers of material, has been around for more than 25 years but has only caught the imagination of investors and customers in recent years.
Voxeljet specialises in large printers used to create prototypes for industry.
It had an installed base of 52 printers worldwide as of June 2013 and boasts of some of the biggest names in the automotive and manufacturing industry as customers, including Daimler AG , Ford Motor Co and 3M Co.
“The company plans to expand into Asia Pacific where it has no foothold. This is a pure growth story in a potentially explosive industry,” said Josef Schuster, founder of IPOX Schuster, a Chicago-based IPO research and investment house.
The company used its 3D printers to make three Aston Martin DB5 model cars used as props in the James Bond film “Skyfall”.
While some 3D printer makers chase the consumer market, others such as Voxeljet are eyeing a piece of the $93.2 billion global machine tools market in hopes of displacing metal casting and molding.
As demand for 3D printing grows, stock in a handful of listed players has gone through the roof.
Shares of ExOne Co, which makes industrial 3D printers, have doubled since the company’s debut in February. Larger rival 3D Systems Corp’s shares have also more than doubled in the last year, while Stratasys Ltd’s shares have gained about 70 percent.
The cost of the technology has fallen in recent years, helping companies such as 3D Systems launch small printers for the consumer market for as little as $350.
Voxeljet, founded as Generis GmbH in 1999, said 60 percent of its revenue in 2012 came from its services division, which prints parts on demand with a 45 percent gross margin.
Voxeljet reported a loss of $489,000 on revenue of $5.8 million for six months ended June 30.
The company said in a filing that it intends to use some of the proceeds of the offering to expand its on-demand print business and for research and development. (link.reuters.com/ses83v)
Piper Jaffray & Co and Citigroup Global Markets Inc are the lead underwriters for the IPO of Voxeljet, whose shares eased back a little to traded at $23.80 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange, valuing the company at close to $400 million. (Additional reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Ted Kerr and Rodney Joyce)