Jitters hit Edwards as listings struggle

DEMAND for shares in Edwards, the vacuum technology group that intends to float in London, is too low to guarantee an initial public offering (IPO) will go ahead, sources said last night.

Edwards is due to price its shares before the end of the week, but there have been concerns over the appetite for stock.

Today is the last day of the firm’s roadshow to drum up interest, although sources close to the process say talks with investors have gone well and that significant orders are still coming in.

Edwards is looking to raise at least £375m through a listing on the London Stock Exchange.

Its private equity backers – CCMP Capital and Unitas Capital – own a combined 90 per cent stake of the firm, which was valued at £1.5bn last year.

It is one of a number of floats that has faced volatile market conditions since the start of this year.

Oil services firm Topaz Energy and Marine last week pulled its $500m (£306m) London floatation after investors failed to show enough appetite for the shares.

Danish outsourcer ISS and French media group Lagardere have also recently postponed listing plans.

Just under €3bn (£2.6bn) in total was raised through IPOs during the first-quarter of this year, a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) published today finds.

Deal values plummeted 71 per cent, compared to the fourth-quarter of last year, when floats generated more than €10bn.

Richard Weaver, capital markets partner at PwC, said: “It’s a volatile and uncertain time for the IPO market.

“Investors are currently so wary that the price they are prepared to pay often doesn’t come close to matching sellers’ expectations. Those companies which are taking the plunge in the coming weeks will be acutely aware of this.”

He added: “I wouldn’t see it all as doom and gloom, there is definitely appetite for the right companies to IPO.”