FRANKFURT, Aug 22 (Reuters) - German technology group Schott said it plans to float its solar energy unit, Schott Solar, by the end of the year, aiming to raise about 500 million euros ($743.3 million) to fund further expansion.
The listing of Schott Solar will be one of Germany’s biggest this year along with the flotation of parts of German rail operator Deutsche Bahn [DBN.UL].
The German government hopes to generate between 5 billion and 8 billion euros through the sale of a 24.9 percent stake in Deutsche Bahn’s passenger transport, logistics and services businesses, with speculation centring around a listing in late October or early November.
Schott Solar declined to give a more specific timing for its listing in Deutsche Boerse’s (DB1Gn.DE) Prime Standard segment, a prerequisite for the inclusion in any of the German indices.
Only two other companies have entered the segment so far this year.
Reuters reported in May, citing sources, that Schott Solar’s listing could happen at the end of the third or the beginning of the fourth quarter.
Schott Solar counts on investors’ strong appetite for renewable energy assets, which have seen strong demand in the past, spurred by a global drive to fight climate change and rising oil prices.
Schott Solar is an integrated solar energy company, which manufactures solar cells and panels. Its joint-venture with chemicals group Wacker Chemie (WCHG.DE) delivers solar wafers and secures the supply of solar-grade silicon.
Its planned initial public offering will mainly consist of new shares from a capital increase, the company said in a statement.
It plans to use the proceeds to fund further expansion and strengthen its capital base.
Schott Solar employs 1,449 staff in Germany, Spain, the United States and Czech Republic.
It reported a 310 percent gain in third-quarter earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) to 22.6 million euros on sales of 147.9 million euros, up 96 percent.
German rival SolarWorld SWVG.DE, which offers a similar product range, reported operating earnings of 75.7 million euros for the three months to end-June on sales of 259.6 million euros. Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE), JPMorgan (JPM.N) and Commerzbank (CBKG.DE) are joint bookrunners for the IPO and LBBW acts as co-lead manager, the company said. (Reporting by Eva Kuehnen; Editing by David Cowell)