Banks on SSP flotation hope the price will come in high

David Hellier
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BANKERS on the £1bn plus flotation of the food concessions group SSP said last night they were confident of getting the issue away at a healthy price. Books were covered on the full deal size late on Friday, the day it launched bookbuilding.

The business is targeting £490m–£570m, with books closing around July 9. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are joint global co-ordinators and joint bookrunners with Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Jefferies. Shore Capital and Nomura are lead managers.

At the lowest end of the range SSP, headed up by the former WH Smith boss Kate Swann, will raise £470m but bankers reckoned the deal might price more strongly than this.

SSP is being sold by private equity at a time when the industry is being criticised for pricing new issues too greedily. A number of private equity-led flotations, such as Saga, AA, Card Factory, and eDreams, have had disappointing share trading debuts.

Sources close to the issue said the deal was in good shape and that investors were ignoring much of the noise about recent poor performers.

Many recent issues have been strengthened by strong overseas interest which has overridden cynicism on the part of many of the UK funds.

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