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June 15 (Bloomberg) -- Kion Group GmbH, the world’s second-largest maker of forklifts, plans to raise at least 741.8 million euros ($988 million) in an initial public offering, as it seeks to expand globally and challenge Toyota Industries Corp., its bigger rival.

The Wiesbaden, Germany-based company, whose two biggest shareholders are KKR & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., will offer 17.2 million shares to new investors in a price range of 24 euros to 30 euros a share, it said in a statement yesterday. Weichai Power Co., China’s biggest maker of heavy-duty trucks and an investor in Kion, will also buy 13.7 million new shares at 29.21 euros a share or, if lower, the final issue price.

“The IPO will strengthen our capital structure for the long term,” Kion Chief Executive Officer Gordon Riske said in the statement. “This will provide the basis for us to drive ahead with our global growth with greater room to maneuver and increased vigor.”

Kion was part of German industrial-gas maker Linde AG before a 4 billion-euro buyout in 2006. Sales increased 8.2 percent to 4.7 billion euros last year even as global demand for industrial trucks dropped by 3.1 percent, as the company benefited from orders in China, where Kion is the largest overseas forklift-maker.

Owners KKR and Goldman sold 25 percent of Kion to Weichai 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.

Over Allotment

The period in which investors can submit their offers for the share issuance will start on June 17 and end on June 26. Trading will start on June 28 on the Frankfurt stock exchange under the ticker KGX.

Kion will issue almost 35 million new shares in total. As part of the sale, Superlift Holding, the investment vehicle owned by Goldman and KKR, will acquire 4.04 million shares from the conversion of a loan. Superlift will also offer an over-allotment of 2.58 million shares.

If all shares are placed, the company will have a 20 percent free float, Kion said. Weichai will hold 30 percent of the company after the offering.

Goldman Sachs and KKR are acting as joint co-ordinators and book runners, while Deutsche Bank AG and Morgan Stanley are serving as joint book runners. BNP Paribas SA, Commerzbank AG, Societe Generale SA and UniCredit SpA are acting as co-lead managers.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Webb in Munich at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Thiel at

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