OSLO, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Norwegian robotics firm AutoStore
said on Wednesday it had priced its initial public offering
(IPO) at 31 Norwegian crowns per share, the top of its target
range, valuing the company at 103.5 billion crowns ($12.4
SoftBank-backed AutoStore will be Norway's most
valuable new listing for two decades when it goes public on
Euronext's Oslo Stock Exchange later on Wednesday.
The company raised 2.7 billion crowns in cash from the issue
of new shares, while existing owners such as Thomas H. Lee
Partners, EQT and others sold stock worth 15.3 billion crowns.
"The money we get from the IPO will be used primarily to
deleverage the debt to a level that is more normal for a public
company," CEO Karl Johan Lier told Reuters.
He plans to bring down the leverage ratio to around 2.5 from
the current ratio of between 5 and 6.
Following the IPO, the free float of AutoStore shares will
amount to about 17.4% of the overall equity.
Founded in 1996, AutoStore has 20,000 robots deployed across
more than 35 countries to automate warehouses. The company,
whose customers include ASDA, Gucci and Lufthansa, uses robots
to store and retrieve products, allowing customers to store four
times the inventory in the same space.
In April, Japan's SoftBank bought https://www.reuters.com/article/us-softbank-group-autostore-idUSKBN2BS1YC
a 40% stake in the Norwegian company for $2.8 billion, valuing
AutoStore at about $7 billion at the time. SoftBank did not sell
stock in the IPO.
"SoftBank is a very good partner, ready to help us drive
more attention in the APAC region ... they have a large network
of companies that can potentially be AutoStore customers so we
see a lot of potential with the relationship," Lier said.
AutoStore is Norway's most valuable new listing since the
2001 debut of Statoil, now known as Equinor, which was
valued at 151 billion crowns at the time of its IPO.
Four cornerstone investors, Alecta Pensionsforsakring, FIL
Investments, Mawer Investment Management and WCM Investment
Management, had each committed to invest $200 million ahead of
AutoStore reported net revenue of $182.1 million last year
and expects revenue of about $300 million in 2021, rising to
more than $500 million in 2022 with a project pipeline worth
$3.4 billion across 2,000 projects.
Bankers from Carnegie, J.P Morgan, Morgan Stanley, ABG
Sundal Collier, Citigroup, Jefferies, Mizuho, SpareBank 1
Markets and Moelis were involved in the deal.
($1 = 8.3474 Norwegian crowns)
(Reporting by Terje Solsvik and Gwladys Fouche; editing by
Richard Pullin and Stephen Coates)