The private-equity owners of Spie SA are preparing the French engineering company for a second attempt at an initial public offering in a year, said two people with knowledge of the matter.
Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, one of the world’s oldest buyout firms, and co-owner Ardian, are meeting with advisers about an IPO that could value Spie at about 4 billion euros ($4.5 billion), said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The shares would trade on the Euronext Paris stock exchange.
The firms dropped IPO plans last October after receiving weak demand from investors. They subsequently refinanced the company’s debt, getting a multimillion-euro dividend, and New York-based CD&R explored selling its stake to another investor in February.
The second attempt may be helped by Europe’s IPO markets, which had a strong first quarter with deals in the region surpassing those of Asia and the U.S. combined, data compiled by Bloomberg show. French investment firm Eurazeo SA also postponed a public offering for Elis SA, Europe’s largest provider of linen to hotels and restaurants, last year. The IPO went ahead in February and the shares have gained about 38 percent.
Spie, based in Cergy-Pontoise, France, provides engineering and support services for transport and telecommunications companies. CD&R led the consortium that bought the company in 2011 for about 2 billion euros and owns two-thirds of the shares, with Ardian the next largest shareholder, according to one person.
Spokesmen for CD&R and Paris-based Ardian declined to comment, while Spie didn’t respond to e-mail requests seeking comment.