Eutelsat in new bid to list on Euronext

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Eutelsat, the satellite operator which abandoned its planned initial public offering a month ago, on Monday night announced that it would make another attempt at listing on Euronext Paris.

The company, which operates 23 satellites over the European market, said it took the decision “to take advantage of improved and stabilised market conditions since the end of October.”

Last month it cut the mid-price of the planned offering by 22 per cent and then pulled it altogether, citing volatility in European equity markets. Since then, however, the French CAC-40 index has risen by about 6 per cent, and shares in SES Global, its closest rival, have climbed by 15 per cent.

The price range has been cut again for the re-launched IPO, from €12-€13.80 to €11.75-€12.75. However, existing shareholders intend to raise €860m ($1bn) – the same amount of new money as originally planned. The funds will go towards reducing the group’s €3.2bn of net borrowings. Up to 73.2m new shares will be offered, representing up to 34 per cent of the post-IPO share capital. The retail and institutional offers are expected to close on December 1, but could close earlier if demand is sufficiently strong.

Goldman Sachs has been appointed sole global coordinator and lead bookrunner for the revised offering, replacing an arrangement where Goldman, Deutsche Bank, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley shared the bookrunner and lead manager roles.

“The sponsors were keen to have a single voice in the market leading the deal and being accountable for its execution,” one person close to the process said. The practice of “competitive” IPOs, with multiple lead advisers, has attracted growing scrutiny from regulators in recent weeks. Eutelsat lowered its estimate of how much it would spend on fees and other expenses associated with the offering, from €36m to €34m.

The group’s controlling shareholders – Eurazeo, Spectrum Equity Investors, Texas Pacific Group, Cinven and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners – will not sell any of their stakes in the offering, unless demand is strong enough to trigger an over-allotment option which would let them offer another 8 per cent of the shares in the group.

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