Germany's Knorr-Bremse to decide on IPO in September
FRANKFURT -- German brake systems maker Knorr-Bremse will decide on a possible stock market flotation in September, Chief Financial Officer Ralph Heuwing told German daily Boersen-Zeitung.
"As soon as everyone is back from vacation the company will decide whether and when an initial public offering will take place," Heuwing told the paper's Saturday edition.
Reuters reported last year that Knorr-Bremse had hired banks to prepare for a potential stock market listing in 2018 after company owner Heinz Hermann Thiele said in September 2017 the company was considering various options, including an IPO.
Heuwing said Knorr-Bremse would not issue new capital as part of the potential IPO. Instead, majority owner Heinz Hermann Thiele and his daughter Julia Thiele-Schuerhoff would reap the proceeds of a potential deal from selling existing shares.
"If an IPO takes place, it is plausible that the family would initially keep control and that the free float would remain below 50 percent," he said.
According to people close to the matter, the family owners could sell a 20 percent to 40 percent stake of Knorr-Bremse in the IPO, valuing the company at 10 billion euros ($11.7 billion) or more.
That would make Knorr-Bremse one of the largest IPOs in Germany this year.
For majority-owner Thiele, 77, the IPO is also part of succession planning. "It is Mr. Thiele's desire that professional investors get a voice (on the company's strategy) and that the company becomes
independent from individual people," Heuwing said.
Last September Knorr-Bremse has dropped its bid for smaller rival Haldex. The Swedish firm has been pursued for more than a year, with Knorr-Bremse left as the sole bidder last October after ZF Friedrichshafen conceded defeat.