DataRoom AM: IPOs aplenty

Private equity's float reputation receives a boost, while Australia’s largest mortgage broker is reportedly looking to list on the ASX.

It’s IPO news aplenty this morning with private equity’s float reputation improving, while plans are afoot for Australian Finance Group, Amaysim and a locally-owned poppy processor.

Meanwhile, Echo is taking off after its latest results showed the benefits of catering to high rollers.

Those in need of a confidence boost in private equity initial public offerings will find what they’re looking for in the latest research from advisory firm Rothschild.

The report, conducted in conjunction with the Australian Private Equity & Venture Capital Association, shows of the 49 IPOs listed since June 2013, the ones that came from private equity have performed the best.

The report is a welcome boost for the industry, which suffered a terrible hit to its reputation in 2009 when TPG listed Myer in a $2.3 billion float, got into a scuffle with the Australian Taxation Office about the proceeds, and left, only for the share price to fall spectacularly.

Meanwhile, sources indicate to The Australian that the Australian Finance Group, the largest mortgage broker in the country, is preparing itself for a $300 million listing on the ASX.

The newspaper reports Macquarie has been tapped as an adviser on the deal, with enthusiasm for a float in the next six months.

Elsewhere, founders of mobile service operator Amaysim are reportedly leaning towards an IPO instead of heading into the arms of a trade sale or private equity acquisition, where there is some interest. Valuations got as high as $600 million.

The Australian Financial Review carries the story, adding that sources indicate MYOB will be hitting the ASX board by the third quarter of this year at the latest with a $3bn IPO.

And according to The Australian, Australia’s only locally-owned poppy processing company, TPI Industries, is planning to list on the ASX after a $200 million capital raising. If you’ve ever wanted an opportunity to make a pun in Australian business about tall poppies, this is as good as you’re going to get.

Moving away from IPO news, Downer EDI has won a $1 billion contract with Asciano’s Pacific National rail group for maintenance services.

Australian fibre network and data centre company Vocus Communications has signed an agreement with New Zealand’s Spark New Zealand to create a construction joint venture dubbed Connect 8.

The extent of the commitments were not disclosed, but basically Spark is getting half Connect 8 for an upfront cash payment and a set construction spend, while Vocus’ commitment is just construction spending.

Echo Entertainment is forking out $50 million to buy a third Bombardier Global XRS jet to carry its high rollers to Sydney, where services aimed at wealthy gamblers have helped Echo’s bottom line.

Daniel Grollo’s Grocon is believed to have a foreign player to provide some financial backing to its pitch to develop Telstra’s $700 million Melbourne office, which is already partnered by UBS.

Westfield has flogged an interest in three regional shopping malls to O’Connor Capital Partners for $US925 million ($1.2 billion).

The Australian Securities Exchange is reporting a consistent increase in not just the number of capital raisings, but the value and volume of them as well.

And on that note, AFR brings word from industry sources that Cockatoo Coal is preparing to launch a long-awaited $150 million rights issue.

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