November 30, 2018 / 11:05 PM / 14 days ago

Germany's Via Optronics preps U.S. IPO: sources

NEW YORK/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German mobile phone parts maker Via Optronics is preparing a U.S. stock market flotation as its Philippine owner Integrated Micro-Electronics (IMI) (IMI.PS) seeks to put the firm on its own financial footing, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

The initial public offering (IPO) is expected to take place as early as the second quarter of 2019, but the exact timing of the deal will depend on the state of the capital markets, the sources said.

At least two U.S. banks, including Citigroup Inc (C.N) have been hired as underwriters, the sources added, asking not to be named because the matter is private.

It could not be learned what valuation the company was aiming to be valued at, the sources said.

Via Optronics could not immediately be reached for comment IMI and Citi declined to comment.

This year has been a stellar one for the U.S. IPO market, particularly for new public tech companies as investors have looked for high-growth companies away from the so-called FANG group of stocks, Facebook (FB.O), Amazon.com (AMZN.O), Netflix (NFLX.O) and Google-parent Alphabet (GOOGL.O).

New York, home of the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq (NDAQ.O), is a hub for technology flotations with international IPO hopefuls looking to score higher valuations there than at other locations given the large numbers of peers listed on those exchanges.

Via Optronics makes materials that enhance mobile phone and tablet displays, making them less reflective and more robust. That allows users to read on their phones in bright sunlight, while also lowering energy consumption of the devices. Its displays can also withstand extreme temperatures, which makes them useful in cars or at industrial machines.

IMI bought a 76 percent stake in Via Optronics for 47.4 million euros ($53.73 million) in 2016. Founder Juergen Eichner owns the rest of the company.

($1 = 0.8822 euros)

Reporting by Liana B. Baker in New York and Arno Schuetze in Frankfurt; editing by Diane Craft

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