Russian heli firm’s London IPO takes off

KREMLIN-backed firm Russian Helicopters has set the price range for its $500m (£304m) joint Moscow and London share offering.

The helicopter manufacturer, dominant amongst Russian counterparts, priced its shares and global depository receipts (GDRs) at between $19 and $25 per unit.

The deal values the company at between $1.8bn and $2.4bn.

Russian Helicopters will sell up to $250m of newly issued shares, whilst the Russian state will sell down a further $250m held in the company.

The Kremlin backs the firm through Oboronprom, a holding company specialising in aerospace technology and the production of military aircraft.

The proceeds of the share sale, being run by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, BNP Paribas and VTB Capital, will be used to pay off existing debt and for a share buyback scheme.

Bankers kicked off a roadshow in Moscow yesterday and will fly to London and New York next week. A final price for the share sale is due to be revealed on 11 May.

The sale comes as part of a planned privatisation drive by the Russian state to release 1 trillion roubles (£21bn) worth of Kremlin-backed assets.

However, Russian listings in London have faced a choppy period over the past few months, with a handful of firms pulling their plans at the eleventh hour.

Mobile phone retailer Euroset postponed its $1.5bn offer earlier this month, whilst St Petersburg-based property firm Etalon successfully completed its £350m listing.

Chief executive of Oboronprom Andrei Reus said:??“The IPO of Russian Helicopters is an integral part of the Russian government’s strategy to support the sustainable growth of its leading businesses.”