Bottom Line: When making a brand new start of it doesn’t work

Elizabeth Fournier
WHEN Edwards’ planned London flotation was cancelled in April 2011, the markets barely even feigned surprise.
The vacuum technology firm’s pulled initial public offering (IPO) came amid a period of market volatility and – Glencore aside – little appetite for new listings. It was hardly surprising that investors didn’t clamber over each other to pile into a Crawley-based manufacturer, even if it does make robot vacuums that clean particles out of the Large Hadron Collider.
But the firm’s decision a year later to list on Nasdaq was a blow.
Once again overseas investors had proved themselves willing to jump as the Brits held back, and others were quick to follow, with Salford-based speciality metals group Luxfer joining the NYSE last year, and and Markit currently eyeing up the US markets.
But Edwards’ experiences prove biggest isn’t always best. When Edwards floated in May last year it priced at just $8 per share – well below the $9-$11 target, which had already been lowered from $11-$13.
Fifteen months on it’s just 45 cents higher, after a bumpy ride that saw it sink to just above $6 last December – putting its market cap far below the £1.5bn that was mooted as a potential valuation when it was first touted for a London IPO.
If a bid comes in at $9.20 – valuing the company at just over $1bn – it’ll mark a just-about-respectable but unimpressive end to the firm’s brief tenure in the Big Apple.
Investors must be wondering why they, and Edwards, bothered.