More firms detail European IPOs, Glencore awaited

By Kylie MacLellan

LONDON (Reuters) – Three European companies seeking to raise a total of $1.7 billion announced more details of their planned listings as a wave of share sales entered a busy week, with a jumbo deal from Glencore seen one step closer.

Russian property firm Etalon, Austrian solar technology group Isovoltaic and Norwegian firm Sevan Drilling all set price ranges for their initial public offerings (IPOs) on Monday, joining at least nine European firms on investor roadshows.

Companies have been pressing ahead with listings after markets rebounded following a spike in volatility caused by the Japanese earthquake and unrest in the Arab world derailed several planned flotations in March.

The renewed activity has been a boon to commodities giant Glencore (GLEN.UL: Quote, Profile, Research) as it moves closer to a much-anticipated potential $10 billion float, expected to be launched next week.

The value of Glencore’s listed assets hit a record high of $32 billion on Monday, Liberum Capital said in a note, a fact likely to boost the Swiss-based firm’s confidence as it weighs up whether to go ahead with a listing.

Glencore’s most significant holdings by value include a 34.5 percent stake in Xstrata (XTA.L: Quote, Profile, Research), whose shares have risen 9 percent since Glencore briefed sell-side analysts at the end of February.

Shares in Russian aluminum maker UC Rusal Ltd (0486.HK: Quote, Profile, Research), in which Glencore has an 8.8 percent holding, have risen 9 percent over that period, while it also has a 44 percent stake in U.S. firm Century Aluminum (CENX.O: Quote, Profile, Research), whose shares are up 17 percent.

VALUATION IS KEY

Etalon, one of four Russian firms planning to list in London this month, said it was seeking to raise up to $650 million from its offering, made up mainly of new shares to fund the purchase of new land plots and cover construction costs.

Austrian firm Isovoltaic, which set a price range of 16-21 euros a share, is looking to raise up to 378 million euros ($538 million) from its Vienna listing, with shares due to begin trading on April 15.

It follows aluminum group AMAG, due to close the books on a 535 million euro Vienna listing later this week, which will be the first Austian IPO since Strabag SE (STRV.VI: Quote, Profile, Research) in October 2007.

Sevan Drilling, a unit of Norwegian oilfield services company Sevan Marine (SEVAN.OL: Quote, Profile, Research), set a price range of 16-21 crowns per share in its up to 3.3 billion crown ($597 million) listing.

Digital sports media company Perform Group, British vacuum technology firm Edwards and Russian sugar and pork producer Rusagro are among those set to complete listings this week.

Books on Perform’s up to 200 million pound ($323 million) listing are covered, a source close to the deal said.

With so many firms looking to complete IPOs before the Easter break later this month and the risk of uncertainty returning, it was likely some IPOs will fail to go ahead, bankers have said.

India group BILT Paper and Dubai-based oilfield services firm Topaz both pulled planned London listings last week on concerns over the valuation they could achieve.

“For the small-mid cap firms, where liquidity in the aftermarket is likely to be low, they are going to have to be more reasonable on valuation,” said one equity capital markets banker.

(Additional reporting by Julie Crust)

($1 = 0.7031 euro = 0.6187 pound = 5.525 crowns)

More firms detail European IPOs, Glencore awaited