May 27 (Bloomberg) -- French buyout firm Eurazeo SA is planning a potential initial public offering of Elis SA, Europe’s largest provider of linens to hotels and restaurants, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.
Eurazeo is speaking with banks about an IPO as early as this year, which could value Elis at 3 billion euros ($4.1 billion) or more in the sale, the people said, asking not to be named as the details aren’t public. No advisers have been hired and Eurazeo may decide against an IPO, they said.
Elis, which is 83 percent owned by Paris-based Eurazeo, would join other French companies including credit insurer Coface SA and caterer Elior SCA in tapping equity markets as investors return. Issuers in France raised $1.2 billion from nine IPOs this year, compared with $1.9 billion for all of 2013, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Shares of companies that have gone public this year have underperformed the wider market. The Bloomberg European IPO Index, which tracks companies that have sold shares, has risen by 0.2 percent since January, compared with a gain of 5 percent in the STOXX Europe 600 Price Index.
A spokesman for Eurazeo declined to comment and an Elis spokesman didn’t return a call and an e-mail seeking comment.
Eurazeo acquired Elis in 2007 from PAI Partners SAS, France’s largest private-equity firm, in a transaction that valued the company at 2.3 billion euros, according to its website. Elis, which said it has 290,000 customers in Europe and Brazil, reported consolidated revenue of 1.2 billion euros for 2012.