Intrum Justitia completes IPO in Sweden

Unlike recent European IPOs, the Industri Kapital-backed firm has finnished its first day of trading in Stockholm substantially above the issue price.

Intrum Justitia, the European debt collection agency acquired by Industri Kapital in 1998, has successfully completed a $400m listing on the Stockholm stock exchange.

The listing raised SKr4bn ($152m) for the firm and its backers, with Swedish private equity firm Industri Kapital recouping a large tranche of its investment in the firm it acquired through a public-to-private deal in 1998.

The offer, Sweden's second IPO this year, proved to be one of the most popular offerings this year and was twelve times subscribed. The listing was co-ordinated by Enskilda Securities and D Carnegie & Co with Cazenove assisting.

The listing has bucked the trend for 2002, which has to date seen more cancellations and price cuts than successful listings for private equity-backed firms.

The other listing to take place in Sweden this year was Alfa Laval. The engineering firm, also backed by Industri Kapital, was only completed after a sharp cut in the offer price as investors became wary of the firm’s growth prospects.

Alfa's post-issue fate was in line with several cases in the UK. Research by The Guardian looking at the 46 companies that have made their debuts on the UK markets this year shows that 16 are below the price at which they were sold to investors and two remained at their original offer price. One of the poorer performers has been HMV, owned by EMI and private equity house Advent International, which completed its £772m listing on the Official List on May 10 at a price of 192p. The music retailer is currently trading nearly 20 per cent below its offer price at 159p.

A number of private equity-backed firms have also been forced to cancel or at least postpone proposed listings. Doughty Hanson cited ‘adverse market conditions’ as the reason behind its decision to postpone indefinitely the listing of Danish heating firm LM Glasfiber. Punch Taverns, backed by Texas Pacific, completed its IPO in late May but only after an initial cancellation which saw the firm cut its offer price to attract investors.

The jury is still out as to whether the IPO has resurfaced as a viable means of achieving a successful exit. The planned listing of CVC/Cinven-backed bookmaker William Hill later this month, together with the offering of Permira’s Focus Wickes in July, may help firms to determine whether the public markets have regained their appetite for IPOs.