Kion Group GmbH, the world’s second-largest maker of forklifts, and academic publisher Springer Science & Business Media are set to begin their initial public offerings in two of Germany’s biggest listings this year, according to four people with knowledge of the matter.
Both Kion, which is majority owned by KKR & Co. (KKR:US) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS:US), as well as Springer Science, which is controlled by Swedish buyout firm EQT Partners AB, may announce their intention to float as early as this week, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. EQT is also still accepting takeover offers this month and may scrap the IPO, they said.
The owners are seeking to tap a rally in equity markets, with the benchmark DAX Index (DAX) gaining one-third in the last 12 months, as well as appetite for companies in Germany, considered a safe-haven economy with global reach. IPOs in Europe, the Middle East and Africa have raised $7.4 billion this year, compared with about $4 billion in the same period in 2012, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Springer Science could be valued at as much as 4 billion euros ($5.2 billion) in a sale, people with knowledge of the matter said in March. EQT hasn’t made a final decision whether to pursue an IPO or sell the German publisher and buyout firms BC Partners Ltd., which is most interested, as well as KKR and Providence Equity Partners have until about June 10 to hand in takeover offers, the people said.
EQT, the Swedish buyout firm part-owned by the Wallenberg family, bought Springer Science jointly with the Government of Singapore Investment Corp. in 2009. The business publishes 2,000 magazines and 7,000 books every year on subjects including science and medicine.
Kion, which only trails Toyota Industries Corp. (6201), an affiliate of Toyota Motor Corp., in the global forklift market, was part of German industrial-gas maker Linde AG (LIN) before a 4 billion-euro buyout in 2006. Owners KKR and Goldman Sachs sold 25 percent of Kion to Weichai Power Co., China’s biggest maker of heavy-duty trucks, in August to help trim debt. Kion also sold 70 percent of its hydraulics unit to the Chinese firm. The moves brought Kion 738 million euros in investment from Weichai.
The company could be valued at more than 4.7 billion euros, according to Bloomberg calculations based on the 467 million euros Weichai paid for a quarter of the company in addition to the pension liabilities and debt stated in the 2012 annual report as well current earnings.
Spokesmen for Springer Science, EQT, KKR, BC Partners and Goldman Sachs declined to comment. Representatives for Providence couldn’t be immediately reached outside of regular business hours. A Kion spokesman, Michael Hauger, said “together with our shareholders we are closely watching capital markets to decide on the right time for a potential IPO, but a final decision has not been taken.”
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