Edwards hires banks for US flotation plan

EDWARDS, a private equity-backed vacuum pump engineering company based in Crawley, is poised to try its luck with an IPO in the US after London gave it the thumbs-down last year.

The group’s backers, CCMP Capital and Unitas Capital, have hired a group of banks, including Goldman Sachs and Barclays Capital, to prepare for a listing within the next few weeks, a banking source told City A.M. yesterday.

Edwards makes vacuum pumps for the manufacture of microelectronics devices, such as semiconductors, solar panels, LEDs and flat panel displays.

The group initially enjoyed a positive hearing from UK investors last year but they finally baulked at the valuation the private equity sellers were demanding.

If Edwards does succeed in floating in the US, there will be much soul-searching in the City, where wrangling between different groups of advisers and investors and poor pricing decisions have resulted in the IPO market virtually seizing up.

When it halted its plants to float last year, Edwards cited “equity market uncertainty.” Some said the sellers wanted too high a price.