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German battery maker Varta revives IPO plans

German battery maker Varta revives IPO plans

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FRANKFURT: German battery maker Varta is planning another attempt at an initial public offering (IPO) on the Frankfurt stock exchange as it seeks funds to expand production capacity, it said on Wednesday.

The company plans to sell new shares worth 150 million euros ($177 million), as well as additional shares from its owner, Swiss investor Montana Tech Components.

Varta said it targeted a free float of around 40 per cent.

It cancelled previous IPO plans last November, citing an unfavourable market environment.

“Our everyday devices are getting smaller and wireless. It leads to strong demand for small batteries with high energyBSE 3.45 % density and reliability,” Chief Executive Herbert Schein said in a statement.

Montana will remain the majority owner after the flotation, which is expected to value the practically debt-free company at more than 400 million euros in the late October float.

Varta is hoping to attract a valuation similar to that of hearing aid makers such as Sonova, William Demant , GN Store or Amplifon, which trade at an average of 16 times their expected core earnings.

Varta reported earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation of 23 million euros on sales of 120 million in the first six months of 2017, having grown by more than 10 per cent annually since 2013.

Varta expects rapid growth in the coming years, also in its second product line, energy storage, which accounts for a fourth of its sales, as German subsidies for renewable energy sales are phased out.

In 2002, the car battery business was taken over by Johnson Controls and the household batteries unit was merged with U.S. firm Rayovac, now called Spectrum Brands. The Varta microbattery business was snapped up by Montana in 2007.

Berenberg is advising on the IPO, along with Unicredit.

Source: Reuters
Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network

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