Veda floats to the top with strong ASX return

Veda Group has become the best-performing public float of the year to date after the credit reporting and data services company's shares soared 40 per cent on its first day of trade.

Veda Group has become the best-performing public float of the year to date after the credit reporting and data services company's shares soared 40 per cent on its first day of trade.

Veda, which returned to the Australian Securities Exchange on Thursday after a six-year hiatus, closed at $1.75, or 50ยข above its initial public offering price of $1.25.

The company leapt ahead of other stellar IPO performers this year, including insurance broking group Steadfast and foreign exchange provider OzForex, which posted 24 per cent and 28 per cent rises to their respective share prices on their first day of trading.

Veda chief executive Nerida Caesar said there were "lots of factors that come into play" when determining the success of IPOs.

She poured cold water on suggestions the shares were priced too cheaply by joint lead managers UBS and Citigroup.

"No matter the asset, it's a matter of having a strong core asset," she said. "I'm just really focusing now on our February results."

Veda provides financial services including credit scoring to its retail and business customers.

The company's listing comes several months before the start of comprehensive credit reporting in Australia next March.

Ms Caesar said there were plenty of future acquisition opportunities for the company. The group completed at least seven purchases since being taken private by Pacific Equity Partners and Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity for $814 million in 2007.

PEP will retain a 63.5 per cent stake in the company after the IPO. The prospectus outlined a $6.8 million transaction fee payable to PEP Advisory. The float helped Veda hit a market capitalisation of $1.05 billion, after the company issued 272.8 million shares at $1.25.

Investors that backed the float include wealth management giant Perpetual and Caledonia.

Veda's listing comes after the corporate watchdog found problems with nearly a third of float prospectuses by companies preparing to make their debut on the ASX.

Ten companies, including Veda and Dick Smith, issued replacement prospectuses before their listings.

Ms Caesar said the Australian Securities and Investments Commission had requested more historical data relating to the company's financial accounts.

"We responded very quickly and there are no issues from investors," she said.

The float comes amid a flurry of public listing activity as Christmas nears.

Nine Entertainment Co, the biggest float of the year, will take place on Friday. Dick Smith Holdings posted a flat first day of trade after listing on Wednesday.

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