September 24, 2018 / 6:19 AM / a year ago

German chip plant builder Exyte to list on stock exchange

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German chip factory builder Exyte is planning to list on the Frankfurt stock exchange this year, the company said on Monday, adding to a flurry of initial public offerings in Europe’s largest economy.

FILE PHOTO: The skyline with its financial district is photographed on early evening in Frankfurt, Germany, September 18, 2018. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

People close to the matter have said stock worth up to 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) is expected to be offered in a deal that could value Exyte at 2.5 to 3 billion euros.

“The rise of big data, Internet of Things, autonomous driving and social media needs an increasing amount of hardware to handle digital information. Chip makers are expecting record capex spending in 2019, which is driving our growth,” Exyte Chief Executive Wolfgang Buechele told Reuters.

“We are not planning transformational share-financed deals but rather bolt-on acquisitions financed from our cashflow.”

The company’s owner, Austrian entrepreneur Georg Stumpf, is planning to sell a minority stake in the company. No new shares will be on offer.

Exyte builds sites for the semiconductor industry - including cleanrooms with dust and particle-free air crucial for silicon wafer production. Its customers include Infineon (IFXGn.DE), ASML (ASML.AS) and Micron (MU.O).

The company, formerly known as M+W Group, will have to fight for investors’ attention as other companies, including Knorr Bremse [STELLG.UL] and Westwing in Germany and SIG Combibloc [SIGN.UL] in Switzerland, plan to go public this autumn.

Founded in 1912 as a specialist for vacuuming sawdust in wood processing, the company expanded into building labs and production sites. It now serves customers in the electronics, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and energy industries, as well as operators of data centres.

The company employs 4,800 staff and is headed by former Linde LING.DE Chief Executive Wolfgang Buechele. It expects sales to exceed 3.5 billion euros and adjusted earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) to exceed 160 million euros in 2018.

Exyte could be valued at up to 20 times of its expected core earnings in a potential deal, the sources have said.

That would be roughly in line with the valuation of peers such as Jacobs Engineering (JEC.N), Fluor Corp (FLR.N), Outotec (OTE1V.HE) and Wood Group (WG.L), some of which are focused more on mining or oil and gas, where margins tend to be lower than in the technology sector.

The company aims to pay a dividend of 25 to 30 percent of net earnings following the listing, people close to the matter said.

Bank of America and UBS are acting as global coordinators of the Exyte IPO with the help of bookrunners Commerzbank and Credit Agricole.

Reporting by Arno Schuetze; Editing by Maria Sheahan and Louise Heavens

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