(Adds comments by company’s CEO and Budapest bourse)
* Largest IPO on Budapest bourse in years
* Shares offered at price range of HUF 5,100 to HUF 6,300
* Offer period ends on June 29
* Proceeds to finance purchase of Poland’s Link
By Krisztina Than
BUDAPEST, June 19 (Reuters) - Hungarian haulier Waberer’s International launched an initial public offering (IPO) on Monday, in which it plans to raise about 45-50 million euros in capital to help finance its purchase of Polish peer Link.
The IPO will be the biggest on the Budapest bourse in years and offers hope for a possible revival of a market currently dominated by four blue-chip stocks.
“This is a milestone in the life of the bourse as a new, large company enters the market ... and a new sector will be represented,” Richard Vegh, chief executive of the bourse told a news conference.
Waberer’s will be the fifth largest blue-chip on the bourse, and trading is expected to start on July 6, he added.
Waberer’s is one of Europe’s biggest haulage businesses with a fleet of more than 3,500 vehicles.
The company said on Monday it would offer up to 11,735,085 shares from now to June 29. It is priced in a range from 5,100 to 6,300 forints per share, with the price to be set on June 29.
It will comprise up to 3,088,236 newly issued ordinary shares and existing shares held by CEE Transport Holding BV.
The offering will include a private placement to institutional investors and a public offering of up to 1,379,718 existing shares, up to 297,175 over-allotment shares and up to 617,647 new shares in Hungary.
Assuming all offered shares are sold at the mid-point of the offer price range, the total net proceeds are expected to amount to around 197 million euros, of which Waberer’s will receive about 45 million, it said in a statement.
The company said it would use around 32 million euros of the proceeds to help fund the acquisition of Polish peer Link, with the rest used for working capital and general corporate purposes. Waberer’s signed a deal to buy Link in May.
“This (Poland) is the strategic direction where we wanted to make our foothold,” Waberer’s chief executive Ferenc Lajko told a news conference. “Our vision is that within 4-5 years we want to have a fleet of several thousand trucks in Poland.”
Lajko said the company was also considering other acquisition targets, and its presence on the stock market could be a catalyst in growth.
The company is indirectly controlled by funds advised by Mid Europa Partners, a financial investor. Shares held by the funds will be sold via CEE Transport Holding BV, Waberer’s has said. (Reporting by Krisztina Than and Marton Dunai; editing by Jason Neely and David Evans)