Halogen Software Inc., a Canadian maker of software that assesses employee performance, is set to break an 18-month drought of initial public offerings in the country’s technology industry.
Halogen and shareholder JMI Equity Fund VI seek to raise about C$50 million ($49 million) by selling shares in the Ottawa-based company, said two people familiar with the sale, who asked not to be identified because the terms aren’t public. The IPO is expected to be priced in May, the people said.
Halogen, whose U.S. customers include Quaker Chemical Corp. (KWR) and clothing manufacturer Carhartt Inc., is looking to tap investor interest in technology firms as falling commodity prices prompt Canadian investors to look outside the metals and mining industry for better returns.
It would be Canada’s first technology IPO since Avigilon Corp. (AVO)’s share sale of about C$25 million in November 2011. Avigilon, a maker of high-tech surveillance gear, has almost tripled in the past year while the 59-company Standard & Poor’s/TSX Materials Index (STMATR) has fallen 27 percent.
Halogen, which sells automated employee-evaluation software to customers in health care, education and financial services, aims to use some of its proceeds to expand its North American sales and marketing, and grow in the U.K. and Australia, the company said in an April 2 regulatory filing. Canaccord Financial Inc. and Stifel Nicolaus Canada Inc. lead a group of banks on the sale.
Tim Foran, a Halogen spokesman at investor relations firm TMX Equicom in Toronto, declined to comment.
Halogen would be the largest technology IPO by a Canadian company since Mitel Networks Corp. (MITL) sold $147 million in its April 2010 initial share sale, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Mitel is listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
Canada’s technology sector has fallen on hard times in recent years. Nortel Networks Corp. (NRTLQ), once North America’s largest maker of telecommunications equipment, filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and was sold off in chunks. The value of BlackBerry (BB) has dropped 90 percent from its mid-2008 peak as the smartphone maker struggled to compete with rivals led by Apple Inc.