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Novomatic prepares IPO amid new German gaming rules -sources
June 30, 2017 / 2:54 PM / 7 months ago

Novomatic prepares IPO amid new German gaming rules -sources

FRANKFURT, June 30 (Reuters) - Gaming technology group Novomatic is pressing ahead with preparations for one of Austria’s largest initial public offerings in years as new regulation in Germany takes effect, people close to the matter said.

Novomatic, which makes slot machines and other gambling equipment and technology and also runs gambling halls, may officially announce its listing plans in autumn and could be valued at up to 6 billion euros ($6.8 billion) in a stock market listing, they said.

The company is keen to take advantage of currently buoyant equity markets, but also wants to see how new gambling rules in Germany -- one of its most important markets -- play out.

Novomatic is preparing for the changes in the market, among other things by raising money in the IPO to fund investments and acquisitions.

From July 1, gambling halls will need to be 100-500 meters apart from each other, depending on individual regulation in the German regional states.

Separately, each hall will no longer be able to get multiple licences, but only one licence to host up to 12 gambling machines.

Dirk Uwer, gambling regulation expert at law firm Hengeler Mueller, said disputes over whether gambling halls must close as a result of the new rules could take years to solve in court.

“For suppliers of gambling technology this means they will likely be able to sell fewer machines in Germany in the future,” he said.

The bulk of the shares to be sold in the IPO, which will see Frankfurt as the primary and Vienna as the secondary listing location, will be newly issued ones, people close to the matter said.

Novomatic is working with Bank of America and Credit Suisse as global coordinators on the IPO with the help of UBS, UniCredit, Commerzbank as bookrunners. Skadden is acting as legal advisor and Macquarie as independent IPO advisor.

Novomatic, owned by the family of its billionaire founder Johann Graf, also operates casinos and a network of sport betting shops.

There are no directly-comparable listed peers, with companies such as Aristocrat, IGT and Scientific Games specialising in gambling equipment and others such as William Hill and 888 focused on handling bets.

Novomatic is expected to post earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of more than 600 million euros this year, the sources said.

A valuation of roughly 6 billion euros would make it one of the biggest ever IPOs of an Austrian company.

Novomatic was not immediately available for comment. ($1 = 0.8767 euros) (Additional reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Keith Weir)

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