Kion, Springer Science Said Set to Start German IPOs

Kion Group GmbH, the world’s second-largest maker of forklifts, and academic publisher Springer Science & Business Media are set to begin their initial public offerings in two of Germany’s biggest listings this year, according to four people with knowledge of the matter.

Kion said today it will list on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange this summer and its majority owners, KKR & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., will remain invested after the IPO. The company may be valued at about 5 billion euros ($6.5 billion), two of the people said. Springer Science, controlled by Swedish buyout firm EQT Partners AB, may also announce its intention to float as early as this week, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. EQT is still accepting takeover offers this month and may scrap the IPO, they said.

The owners are seeking to tap a rally in equity markets, with the benchmark DAX Index gaining one-third in the last 12 months, as well as appetite for companies in Germany, considered a safe-haven economy with global reach. IPOs in Europe, the Middle East and Africa have raised $7.4 billion this year, compared with about $4 billion in the same period in 2012, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Weichai Stake

The Kion IPO seeks to raise about 900 million euros, including 500 million euros from a sale of new shares and 400 million euros from Weichai Power Co., which plans to boost its stake to 30 percent from 25 percent, the person said. Another 100 million euros will come from the conversion of a shareholder loan, the person said. The potential valuation also reflects rising earnings and the 2013 forecasts, the person said.

Goldman Sachs, KKR Capital Markets are managing the Kion share sale along with Deutsche Bank AG and Morgan Stanley. Deutsche Annington Immobilien AG, Germany’s largest residential landlord, plans to list shares by the end of the month, people with knowledge of the matter said May 6.

Springer Science could be valued at as much as 4 billion euros ($5.2 billion) in a sale, people with knowledge of the matter said in March. EQT hasn’t made a final decision whether to pursue an IPO or sell the German publisher. Buyout firms BC Partners Ltd., which is most interested, as well as KKR and Providence Equity Partners have until about June 10 to hand in takeover offers, the people said.

EQT, the Swedish buyout firm part-owned by the Wallenberg family, bought Heidelberg-based Springer Science jointly with the Government of Singapore Investment Corp. in 2009. The business publishes 2,000 magazines and 7,000 books every year on subjects including science and medicine.

After Toyota

Kion, which trails Toyota Industries Corp., an affiliate of Toyota Motor Corp., in the global forklift market, was part of German industrial-gas maker Linde AG before a 4 billion-euro buyout in 2006. Owners KKR and Goldman Sachs sold 25 percent of Kion to Weichai Power, China’s biggest maker of heavy-duty trucks, in August to help trim debt. Kion also sold 70 percent of its hydraulics unit to the Chinese firm. The moves brought Kion 738 million euros in investment from Weichai.

Kion, based in Wiesbaden, Germany, employed more than 21,000 people and generated revenues of 4.73 billion euros in 2012, according to today’s statement. The company is present in approximately 100 countries and has a global market share of around 15 percent.

Spokesmen for Springer Science, EQT, KKR, BC Partners and Goldman Sachs declined to comment. Representatives for Providence couldn’t be immediately reached outside of regular business hours.

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