3-D Printing Maker SLM Said to Plan IPO as Industry Grows

SLM Solutions GmbH, a German maker of 3-D printing machines, is preparing an initial public offering that may value the company at about 500 million euros ($698 million), according to people with knowledge of the matter.

SLM, in which DPE Deutsche Private Equity GmbH invested in 2012, is working with Credit Suisse Group AG and Deutsche Bank AG on the prospective sale, said the people, who asked not to be named as details aren’t public. The Luebeck-based company may raise 200 million euros to 300 million euros by listing about 60 percent on the market as early as the first half of this year, one of the people said.

3-D printers create an object by building thin layers of materials such as plastic powder, metal or liquid resin one on top of the other, following instructions from a computer-drawn blueprint. As the technology becomes popular with companies such as General Electric Co. and the Lotus Formula 1 racing team, the 3-D industry may almost triple to about $6 billion annually by 2017, according to estimates by consultant Wohlers Associates.

Representatives for SLM, Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse declined to comment.

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In 2002, SLM started selling its technology, sometimes referred to as additive manufacturing, to international clients. Today, the company is among the largest manufacturers in the sector, according to its website. SLM sells products to sectors including automotive, electronics, medical technology and aerospace.

Industrial companies including GE and Siemens AG -- both customers of SLM -- are investing in the technology. Siemens uses additive manufacturing to repair components for gas turbines, while GE is spending tens of millions of dollars to triple its 70-person 3-D printing staff before using the technology to build fuel nozzles for jet engines.

Voxeljet AG, a fellow supplier of 3-D printing systems, has seen its share price more than double since its October listing, valuing the Friedberg, Germany-based company at $477 million.

Sellers including French cable holding company Altice SA and Russian retailer Lenta Ltd. raised $12 billion from IPOs in Europe this year, about four times the amount in the same period in 2013, as investors continued to bet on an economic recovery in the region, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.