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The Biggest European IPO This Year Was Just a Huge Success

Spearville Wind Farm TurbinesSpearville Wind Farm Turbines

Shares in DONG Energy jumped as much as 10% on Thursday after the Danish utility and wind farm developer sealed the biggest European stock market flotation this year.

The company, which has built more than a quarter of the world’s offshore wind farms, sold shares at 235 Danish crowns apiece, in the top half of its 200-255 crowns guidance range and valuing the business at 98 billion crowns ($15 billion)

At 0840 GMT, the stock was trading at 258.7 crowns, having earlier touched 260 crowns.

The flotation raised a gross 17 billion crowns for the Danish state and a consortium of investors led by Goldman Sachs (GS).

The valuation means Goldman has doubled an 8 billion crown investment made just two and a half years ago, fueling criticism in Denmark that the previous government sold an 18% stake to the Goldman consortium too cheaply.

DONG’s listing gives investors the chance to buy into the fast-growing offshore wind sector. The firm has major projects in Britain and Germany, including the 1.2 gigawatt Hornsea 1 which will become the world’s largest offshore wind farm, and recently opened offices in the United States and Taiwan.

However, offshore wind power is one of the most expensive sources of renewable energy and some analysts are concerned about the sector’s reliance on government subsidies.

DONG derived 62% of its revenue on operational offshore wind farms last year from subsidies and other financial support, such as Green Certificates in Britain.

“A price of around 260 (crowns) is within what we see as fair value for the share,” said Peter Garnry, head of equity strategy at Saxo Bank.

“In the short term, the share price could rise further because of the limited number of shares offered relative to the total capital.”

 

Improving Technology

DONG did not issue new shares, while the government and Goldman consortium sold a combined 17.4% stake. The state will retain a holding of just over 50%, while the Goldman group will have a stake of 13.4% after the flotation.

Gross proceeds could rise to 19.7 billion crowns if the sellers exercise a so-called overallotment option to offload further stock.

DONG has made a net loss for each of the last four years, mainly due to impairment charges on its oil business, but expects to make a profit this year as its wind power business increases and the technology improves.

“We expect renewable energy like offshore wind will be able to compete with other energy types in a number of years,” Chairman Thomas Thune Andersen told Reuters, though he declined to say how many years it would take before the technology could be built without government subsidies.

DONG said more than 36,000 new investors had been allocated shares in the flotation. Private Danish investors were assigned about 10 percent of the 72.8 million shares sold, with the rest bought by Danish and international institutional investors.

JP Morgan (JPM), Morgan Stanley (MS) and Nordea were global coordinators for the listing. Citigroup (C), Danske Bank, UBS, RBC, Rabobank and ABG Sundal Collier were also involved.