March 18, 2019 / 7:36 AM / 3 months ago

Italian payments firm Nexi pushes on with IPO plan

MILAN (Reuters) - Italian payments firm Nexi began proceedings on Monday for an initial public offering on the Milan stock exchange, in what would be one of the biggest listings in Europe this year.

Nexi’s private equity owners - Bain Capital, Advent and Clessidra - are aiming to raise between 600 and 700 million euros in fresh cash for the company, as well as listing part of their existing stake.

Sources told Reuters in February the advisers are targeting an overall valuation of around 8 billion euros ($9 billion).

Once a backwater of banking, the payment processing sector is now regarded as one of the most lucrative and fast-growing businesses in the financial sector, though it also faces competition from newcomers trying to disrupt the way merchants are paid.

U.S. fintech group Fidelity National Information Services Inc said on Monday it has agreed to buy payment processor Worldpay for about $35 billion.

Nexi said in a statement it had filed a request to list to the Milan’s stock exchange on Monday, and the offer was expected to be launched in April.

Proceeds of the IPO will be used to reduce Nexi’s debt, with the aim of bringing net financial debt to 3-3.5 times normalized core earnings at the end of 2019, it said.

Nexi said it was in talks to obtain better financing terms on its existing debt as a result of the listing.

BofA Merrill Lynch, Banca IMI, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and Mediobanca are joint global coordinators and joint bookrunners for the offer.

Reporting by Rachel Armstrong and Silvia Aloisi, editing by Keith Weir

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