LeasePlan put brakes on its IPO plans on Friday, only a few days after the company said a stock exchange float was a matter of weeks.
In a statement, the Dutch lessor said it would not proceed with the IPO “at this time, due to market conditions” – a reversal on last weeks’ statement that the company was gearing up for an IPO by the end of the year.
The company had said it planned to float on the Amsterdam and Brussels Euronext exchanges, and to trade its shares in private offerings to institutional investors elsewhere.
The company did nevertheless say, in a brief single line, that the IPO may be postponed if market conditions became unpalatable. While Friday’s statement did not specify what market factors it was referring to, European and American equities have been in freefall since the start of the week, with Europe’s main equity index falling to the lowest in almost two years, according to Bloomberg.
55-year-old LeasePlan last switched hands in 2016, when a private equity consortium bought it from the Volkswagen group and German investors for €3.7bn. The company was originally targeting June of this year for the long-rumoured public offering, but in April, Gunning said the company would delay the float in order to build a better case for investors.
Last week’s announcement of an upcoming IPO was met with positive reception from Fitch Ratings, which at the time of the 2016 acquisition had downgraded LeasePlan’s debt due to its owners’ high leverage. The ratings agency seemed ready to reverse the decision last week, saying it expected the stock exchange listing “to reduce that risk and create a more diversified ownership structure”.
LeasePlan said it was aiming for an underlying profit of €750-800m in the “medium term” from the IPO, 60% of which it intended to pay as dividends.