By Pablo Mayo Cerqueiro LONDON (Reuters) – WE Soda, the world’s largest producer of natural soda ash, is looking to raise at least $800 million for its parent Ciner Group in an initial public offering (IPO), its chief strategy officer told Reuters, in a show of confidence in London’s capital markets. The ultimate size of […]
WE Soda to sell at least $800 million shares in rare London IPO
By Pablo Mayo Cerqueiro
LONDON (Reuters) – WE Soda, the world’s largest producer of natural soda ash, is looking to raise at least $800 million for its parent Ciner Group in an initial public offering (IPO), its chief strategy officer told Reuters, in a show of confidence in London’s capital markets.
The ultimate size of the offering is subject to investor feedback but will represent at least 10% of WE Soda’s share capital, Nicholas Hall said, after the company announced plans to list earlier on Wednesday.
Press reports have previously pointed to a potential valuation for the chemicals firm of up to $8.5 billion.
Part of the sale proceeds will be used by Ciner Group, a family-owned Turkish industrial conglomerate, to repay intercompany loans extended by WE Soda to other group entities, Hall said.
Banks managing the IPO are expected to start taking stock orders from investors in the coming weeks, with a view to pricing a deal by the end of June, he added.
WE Soda’s plans come at a quiet time for European IPOs, after soaring interest rates and economic uncertainty nearly froze the market last year.
There has also been debate about London’s attractiveness as a listing venue following Britain’s departure from the European Union and some high-profile defections by domestic or locally listed companies to stock exchanges abroad, including Cambridge-based chipmaker Arm.
Hall said WE Soda and its parent had chosen London because of the deep understanding by investors of the chemicals industry, as well as the fact that London acts as a gateway to the United States, its targeted growth market. WE Soda and other Ciner Group businesses are also based in Britain, he added.
Though proceeds raised in London IPOs fell 90% last year, according to research by consultancy EY, the British capital has seen some activity in recent months.
Earlier in May, Admiral Acquisition, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) founded by veteran dealmaker Martin E. Franklin, raised $550 million in a London flotation.
In April, Melrose Industries listed the former automotive division of British engineer GKN under the name Dowlais on the London Stock Exchange.
(Reporting by Pablo Mayo Cerqueiro in London; Editing by Jason Neely and Mark Potter)