Connect with us

IPOs / FFOs

Airline IPOs tap investor expectations of post-pandemic rebound

Published

on


Airline initial public offerings are taking off, fuelled by a jump in investor appetite for stocks expected to get a big lift from economic reopenings and an anticipated rebound in travel as Covid-19 vaccination programmes accelerate.

Investors on Wall Street sent shares of Apollo-backed Sun Country Airlines up more than 50 per cent in their debut on Wednesday, which came weeks after Norwegian start-up carrier Flyr listed in Oslo. It is shaping up to be one of the busiest two months in years for airline listings, with Frontier Airlines set to go public on the Nasdaq in the coming weeks.

Sun Country’s shares closed their first trading session at $36.38 on Wednesday, giving the company a market value of around $2bn. That was well above the $24 the shares were initially priced at on Tuesday and higher than the $21 to $23 range the Minneapolis-based budget airline had originally sought for its listing.

The offering was roughly 15 times subscribed, according to people familiar with the deal.

Both Sun Country and Frontier are going public after a challenging year. Frontier booked a net loss of $225m last year, after earning $251m a year prior. Sun Country was able to retain more than half of its 2019 operating revenue throughout the past year, owing in large part due to a deal to fly cargo for Amazon. The decline in bookings nonetheless left it with a $4m loss.

Jude Bricker, Sun Country’s chief executive, said that bookings have since climbed back to pre-coronavirus levels.

“We’re feeling really good about where we are and investors share that enthusiasm,” Bricker said. The IPO, he added, “was an opportunity for us. And we took it.”

Sun Country raised a total of $218m in the listing, while leveraged buyout group Apollo agreed to sell $100m of its stake in the airline to BlackRock and PAR Investment Partners.

Together with the $70m Flyr raised through its IPO, the quarter is already shaping out to be the busiest the industry has seen for public market debuts in more than two years. Even if Frontier’s IPO doesn’t land until next month, this would be the first quarter with two airlines going public since 2018, according to data from Dealogic.

Column chart of Airlines have raised almost $300m in IPOs so far this year showing Airline IPOs are taking off again after two very quiet years

Public equity markets have been willing to look past the airline industry’s heavy hit from the coronavirus pandemic, banking on a surge in demand for travel once restrictions ease and people are more willing to fly.

Stock prices for big US airlines such as Delta and United have surged more than 60 per cent since the beginning of October. American Airlines, up 96 per cent over the same timeframe, was able to tap debt markets for $10bn last week, the biggest ever deal in the industry.

The boost in airline stocks is part of a larger rotation of investors from some of the pandemic’s big winners such as video conferencing provider Zoom and home-fitness equipment maker Peloton to those companies that can expect a boost out of an accelerating vaccine rollout and the US government stimulus package.

“That’s in anticipation of the economy reopening, people travelling again, so you’ve got a confluence of favourable macro factors,” said Paul Abrahimzadeh, co-head of North American equity capital markets at Citigroup.

Sun Country’s debut comes on the heels of a wave of private companies rushing to tap public markets, led by several blockbuster IPOs from DoorDash, Lemonade and Airbnb, as well as Roblox and Coupang, which both joined the New York Stock Exchange last week.

“Certainly, tech will continue to play an outsized part in the IPO market as a whole,” said Jeff Bunzel, co-head of equity capital markets at Deutsche Bank. He added, however, that “to the extent that we go back to ‘normal’, whatever that is, it will clearly benefit some of the more traditional businesses.”



Source link

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

IPOs / FFOs

Pepco and Poundland chains target multibillion valuation in IPO

Published

on

By


South African conglomerate Steinhoff is set to raise up to 4.6bn zlotys ($1bn) when it lists its Pepco chain of discount retailers in Warsaw this month in the latest in a series of asset sales.

Pepco, which operates about 3,200 stores in countries including Poland, Romania and Hungary, as well as Poundland in the UK, said on Wednesday that shares in the offering would be priced between 38 zlotys and 46 zlotys.

In total, Steinhoff and members of Pepco’s management team will sell 102.7m shares or 17.9 per cent of Pepco to the public, valuing the company at between 21.9bn zlotys and 26.5bn zlotys. The final price will be set on May 14, and trading will begin on May 26.

A portion of shares will also be placed directly with some of Steinhoff’s lenders, following an earlier agreement between the conglomerate and its creditors.

Andy Bond, the former Asda chief executive who now runs Pepco, intends to sell more than 1m shares in the IPO, worth roughly €9.7m at the midpoint of the price range, though he will be subject to a lock-up period until the end of 2023 thereafter.

Bond said the company planned to open a further 8,000 stores “over the longer term”, but would also keep “a clear focus on costs and delivering additional efficiencies as we grow”.

Pepco’s listing is likely to be one of the biggest this year on the Warsaw exchange, which has seen a flurry of activity since Poland’s dominant ecommerce platform Allegro raised 9.2bn zlotys last year in the country’s largest initial public offering

Steinhoff will initially retain a stake of about 82 per cent, but the group is looking to sell assets to reduce debt after an accounting scandal in 2017. 

It has already sold Bensons for Beds, another UK retailer, to private equity group Alteri, and has an option to sell a further 15.4m shares in Pepco in the offering if investors show sufficient interest. Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan are advising on the IPO.

Pepco’s business heartland is in central Europe, but the group is planning to expand elsewhere on the continent, such as Spain, and is targeting earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of more than €1bn within the next “five to seven years”.

In the year to the end of September, it reported sales of €3.5bn and underlying ebitda of €229m. Ebitda was almost a third lower than in the previous 12 months, as the pandemic forced stores to close across Europe.

Like many other discount retailers, Pepco does not trade online, as the small size of the purchases typically made by its customers makes the economics of ecommerce difficult.

The group said last week that sales had risen 4.4 per cent in the six months to the end of March, thanks to the opening of more than 200 new stores. However, on a like-for-like basis, sales were down 2.1 per cent.



Source link

Continue Reading

IPOs / FFOs

Honest Company’s market debut marks a comeback

Published

on

By


When the Honest Company lists on the Nasdaq exchange on Wednesday, it will be the culmination of a long recovery for the baby and beauty products group co-founded and fronted by the actress Jessica Alba.

The company priced its initial public offering on Tuesday at a valuation of $1.4bn, having worked to shake off much of the reputational and financial damage from a series of product lawsuits and recalls.

Honest, founded in 2011, had been valued as high as $1.7bn in 2015 before controversy over some of its claims to be using only natural ingredients in its products. In 2017, the company also recalled baby wipes because it found mould in some packages, and baby powder over concerns it may cause skin or eye infections.

Sales slid and Honest lost its status as a “unicorn”, a private company worth more than $1bn.

“Our rapid growth,” Alba wrote in a confessional passage in the IPO prospectus, “was compromising key business functions.”

Honest has never been profitable, but its revenue rose from $236m in 2019 to $300m in 2020 as the pandemic fuelled a run on cleaning products and other household staples. That took sales back to the level the company last enjoyed in 2016.

Losses narrowed last year to $14m from $31m in 2019.

Honest has previously said it expected to price its offering between $14 and $17 a share. At $16 each, it raised $413m, a majority of which will go to existing investors who are selling some of their stake.

Alba had been inspired to launch the brand after the birth of her first child left her scrambling to find household products she deemed safe to use around her daughter. She pledged to hold the company to an “honest standard of safety and transparency”.

Honest markets its products as natural, boasting that “we ban over 2,500 questionable ingredients”. It is one of many consumer goods makers seeking to tap into buyers’ appetite for household products seen as non-synthetic and sustainable.

The company still flags “health and safety incidents or advertising inaccuracies” as a continued risk factor in its prospectus. In January the brand issued a voluntary recall for one of its bubble baths, out of concerns that it could cause infections.

Ahead of the IPO, the company said two weeks ago that Alba would be stepping down as chair of the board when the company lists, handing the role to James White, former chief executive of Jamba Juice. She will remain the company’s chief creative officer, on a salary of $600,000 a year and, according to the prospectus, key to the company’s future success.

“Jessica Alba is a globally recognised Latina business leader, entrepreneur, advocate, actress and New York Times bestselling author,” it said. “Our brand may . . . depend on the positive image and public popularity of Ms Alba to maintain and increase brand recognition.”

Alba’s 6.1 per cent stake after the IPO was worth about $90m at Tuesday’s offer price.

The 3.8 per cent stake held by chief executive Nick Vlahos was valued at $57m. Vlahos has been steering Honest’s recovery since 2017, when he replaced co-founder and serial entrepreneur Brian Lee.

Honest secured a $200m investment from the consumer-focused private equity group L Catterton in 2018. The group is selling about half of its current 37.1 per cent stake in the offering, enough to recoup that investment, leaving a 17.4 per cent holding worth another $252m.

Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan and Jefferies are leading the offering.



Source link

Continue Reading

IPOs / FFOs

Oxford Nanopore/IPO: sequencer has Woodford in its DNA

Published

on

By


The stampede of pandemic winners to the stock market inspires wariness. Oxford Nanopore, which plans to go public this year, is one such beneficiary. The spinout from Oxford university is responsible for a fifth of the international sequencing that tracked coronavirus mutations.

That has drawn attention to a company with a lot of potential in a wide range of applications. An initial public offering could value it at significantly more than the £2.5bn price tag from a private funding round on Tuesday.

Started in 2005, Oxford Nanopore has benefited from the support of long-term shareholders. However, the backing of Neil Woodford is a complicating factor. The funds business of the prominent UK asset manager folded in 2019 following dire performance.

A successful float would benefit Schroder UK Public Private, the “patient capital” investment trust Woodford formerly ran. But there will be anger from former investors in his defunct income fund. Its 6 per cent stake in Oxford Nanopore was bought by Nasdaq-listed Acacia Research, which put a valuation of just $111m on it in its latest accounts. Woodford, who announced a controversial plan to restart his career in February, is working with Acacia as an adviser.

Oxford Nanopore’s decision to join the London market rather than Nasdaq will also hamper the valuation. But assume, as Jefferies does, that sales more than doubled to £115m in 2020. Even if Oxford Nanopore was valued at half the multiple of peers like US Pacific Biosciences, it would be worth £3.6bn.

That is less than a tenth of the size of San Diego’s Illumina, the global leader. Oxford Nanopore argues its sequencing technology — which monitors changes to an electrical current as nucleic acids are passed through a tiny hole — beats traditional camera-based approaches. Sequencing can be done quickly and cheaply by miniaturised devices. Accuracy has been a weak point, but is improving.

Investors should focus on the science, setting aside market froth and the Woodford connection. At the right price, Oxford Nanopore’s plan to facilitate the analysis of “anything, by anyone, anywhere” would be worth investing in.

If you are a subscriber and would like to receive alerts when Lex articles are published, just click the button “Add to myFT”, which appears at the top of this page above the headline.



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending