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Just one day after CEVA announced its intention to list on the Swiss Stock Exchange (SIX) this quarter, Swissport has said it will now defer its plans to list on the exchange.
The handler, owned by cash-strapped HNA Group, announced in January its intention to seek an IPO, with HNA hoping to secure a valuation of CHF2.7bn ($2.84bn). At the same time, the market was awash with speculation that Swissport was planning to acquire rival WFS. One source told The Loadstar however, that the price of WFS “was not to Swissport’s liking”.
The IPO plan raised further market speculation that the cash raised could be used to acquire WFS.
Swissport blamed the deferral of the IPO on “current market conditions” – which could also be related to CEVA’s IPO plan.
“It could well be that CEVA – looking for CHF1.3bn, for an unknown amount of equity dilution post-money – is much more attractive than a handler,” said The Loadstar’s financial columnist Alessandro Pasetti.
“It looks a lot like Swissport tried to lure investors too early when it announced the upcoming IPO. It might be also leaving the party too early, given President Xi Jinping’s new plan [to open up China’s economy, lower tariffs on autos, and enforce the legal intellectual property of foreign firms], which will likely prop up the market, and send contradictory signs to the perma-bears who believe this late cycle is destined to end up with a hard-landing scenario as soon as this year.”
HNA scrapped plans last month to list 65% of airline catering company Gategroup on SIX after potential investor concerns over the price, and possible concerns over HNA’s credibility.
The FT noted at the time that Swissport’s listing could be even more challenging, as its finances became intertwined with those of the HNA Group due to a series of short term loans the Swiss handler made to HNA subsidiaries. But even as HNA pulled Gategroup’s IPO, Swissport sounded confident, noting that “preparations are well on track with regards to the milestones of our IPO schedule and feedback from potential investors has been very positive”.
Meanwhile, “highly restricted” research on CEVA’s IPO is thought to be making the rounds among the equity financiers, although some New York traders said that preliminary documentation has not landed on their desks.
CEVA’s prospectus and price range is expected to be announced around 24 April.