ZURICH (Reuters) - Shares in Stadler Rail surged on Friday as investors piled in to an oversubscribed initial public offering (IPO) that valued the Swiss trainmaker at around $3.8 billion and made more than a billion Swiss francs for Chairman Peter Spuhler.
The stock, priced at 38 francs, touched an early high of 42.895 francs as it made its debut on the SIX Swiss Exchange. It was up 10.5 percent at 42 francs by 0800 GMT.
The flotation aims to help Stadler finance acquisitions and strengthen its hand when bidding for contracts. It marks the next stage in its growth strategy aiming to double sales to 4 billion francs ($4 billion) by 2020.
Spuhler, who over 30 years turned Stadler into a global player from a relatively small family-owned business, sold 35 million shares worth 1.33 billion francs at the offer price. Another 5.3 million are available via an over-allotment option, which if exercised in full will leave him with a stake of 39.7 percent.
“This is clearly another milestone in the history of the company and I remain fully committed to the continued success of Stadler both as the largest shareholder and as executive chairman,” Spuhler said.
The deal is the latest large flotation in Switzerland, where IPOs are gaining pace after 12 companies listed in 2018.
It follows the spinoff of drugmaker Novartis’s Alcon eye-care unit, whose market capitalisation hit 28 billion francs, and medical device maker Medacta Group, which achieved a value of 1.92 billion francs.
The Stadler listing is also the biggest in Europe so far in 2019, adding to optimism that the market for new issues is improving after a bleak first quarter in which proceeds from European IPOs were the lowest since 2009.
Middle East payments firm Network International listed in London on Wednesday, with its shares rising almost 20 percent, and next week Italian payments firm Nexi is due to debut in Milan, with the company valued at 5.7 billion euros.
Founded in 1942, Stadler has produced more than 8,000 trains
and locomotives that operate in 41 countries, including a new plant in Utah. Its IPO was several times oversubscribed amid strong demand from institutional and Swiss retail investors, the company said.
Credit Suisse and UBS were joint global coordinators and joint bookrunners for the Stadler deal. BNP Paribas, Citigroup and Zuercher Kantonalbank were joint bookrunners and UniCredit Bank co-lead manager, while Reichmuth & Co, St. Galler Kantonalbank and Thurgauer Kantonalbank were selling agents.
Alantra is independent financial adviser to Stadler and Peter Spuhler. Niederer Kraft Frey AG and BianchiSchwald LLC are legal advisers to Stadler and Peter Spuhler, with Lenz & Staehelin representing the bank syndicate.
Reporting by Michael Shields and Oliver Hirt; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and David Holmes