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Czech firearms maker CZG launches Prague share offering

PRAGUE (Reuters) - Czech firearms maker CZG-Ceska Zbrojovka Group launched a public share offering on Tuesday, valuing the company at up to 13.6 billion crowns (459.12 million pounds) under a full allotment at the top end of the price range.

CZG, which earlier this year undertook a technical listing, whereby shares are admitted to trading without raising funds, aims to raise up to 4.8 billion crowns through the sale of new and existing shares and a possible over-allotment.

About half of proceeds will be invested in growth in the United States, including the construction of a new plant in Little Rock, Arkansas.

“We believe (CZG) can grow all over the world. We believe the fair market share for our products is not yet reached anywhere, neither on the civilian market or military,” Vice-Chairman Jan Drahota said.

The group will offer up to 12.99 million shares, of which up to 6.9 million will be new, CZG said in its prospectus. It set a price range of 290 to 370 crowns per share, and said it expected trading in Prague to start on Oct. 2.

A free float of 23%-34% of the firm is expected. The company is a wholly-owned unit of holding company Ceska zbrojovka Partners, whose main owner is Rene Holecek, listed as the 30th richest Czech citizen by Forbes in 2019.

The gunmaker, which has plants in the Czech Republic and United States, reported record revenue of 3.4 billion crowns in the first half of 2020, generating attributable profit of 381.7 million crowns.

In 2019, it posted 743.3 million crowns in profit from 5.96 billion in revenue, the latter up from 5.34 billion in 2018.

CZG plans to use $40 million to $50 million of the proceeds for the Little Rock construction and the rest for other corporate uses, including possible acquisitions.

The listing in Prague, the first since the much larger Moneta Money Bank .MONET.PR sold shares in 2016, comes at a time when some companies are due to de-list.

Some analysts said the shares could get decent demand from investors among Prague's smaller-cap stocks. .PX

Reporting by Jason Hovet and Jan Lopatka; Editing by Louise Heavens and Jan Harvey

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