Emerging Europe IPO trio gets a mixed reception from wary investors
Slovenian, Kazakh governments deliver on privatization promises, while price concerns scupper listing plans of Belarusian retailer Eurotorg.
A trio of chunky IPOs from emerging Europe met with a mixed reception from wary investors in London in early November.
To the surprise of many in the market, two long-promised privatizations – of Slovenian lender NLB and uranium producer Kazatomprom – made it across the line, while a leading private-sector retailer had to postpone its listing.
On November 9, the Slovenian government finally delivered on commitments to the European Commission, made at the time of a state bailout of the country’s leading banks in 2013, to sell more than half of market leader NLB.
A previous listing attempt in June 2017 was cancelled when politicians rejected the proposed minimum offer price – which valued the bank at €1.1 billion – as too low. That prompted the EC to threaten to appoint a divestiture trustee if the sale was not completed by the end of this year.
There had been concerns that Slovenia’s volatile politics would again scupper the deal, particularly given the challenging external market conditions.
One of the biggest drawbacks of the NLB IPO was that it’s more of the same - Matthias Siller, Baring Emerging Europe
Despite pricing below the level deemed unacceptable last year, however, the listing went ahead in London and Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana.