Shares of online rail-ticketing company Trainline Plc jumped as much as 25% as it started trading, giving optimism to investors ahead of other large European listings slated for next week.
The stock was trading 19% higher at about 418 pence as of 10 a.m. in London, putting it on track to become one of the best debuts among large European companies this year. Trainline, which now has a market value of just over 2 billion pounds ($2.5 billion), priced its IPO at 350 pence a share, near the top end of its targeted range.
The IPO is the second-largest in the U.K. this year after Network International’s April debut, which raised 1.1 billion pounds in one of Europe’s biggest listings of 2019. It also resulted in a good return for private equity backer KKR & Co, which made four times its investment at the offer price of 350 pence, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Trainline’s stellar debut may be a good sign for other large listings slated for next week, including the London float of Bharti Airtel’s Africa unit, which is selling 744 million new shares in an offer valuing the carrier at as much as $4.5 billion. Across the continent, Volkswagen’s truck unit Traton is also set to debut in one of the most highly-anticipated IPOs of the year. The planned offering values the business at as much as $18.6 billion.
KKR acquired London-based Trainline in 2015 for an undisclosed sum from Exponent Private Equity, pre-empting an IPO that would have valued the firm at about 500 million pounds, people familiar with the matter said at the time. KKR will remain Trainline’s largest shareholder after the IPO.
The company floated 56.5% of its business in a 951 million pound-offer that includes the sale of 32 million new shares and 240 million shares by existing shareholders, it said in a statement. Trainline also won the support of fund manager Baillie Gifford, who committed to invest 200 million pounds as a cornerstone investor.
Trainline will use the IPO proceeds to raise its profile and fund expansion plans. The company works with about 220 rail and coach companies to offer customers fares for travel in 45 countries mainly in Europe and Asia. It increased its reach across Europe in 2016 with the acquisition of Captain Train, one of the most popular Continental rail ticket re-sellers. It said in its prospectus that revenue has grown at a compound annual growth rate of 18% for the past three fiscal years, while net ticket sales have had a growth rate of 20%.
J.P. Morgan Securities Plc and Morgan Stanley & Co. International Plc were sponsors. The two banks, along with KKR Capital Markets Ltd., were also global co-ordinators and bookrunners. Barclays Bank Plc and Numis Securities Ltd. were bookrunners.
©2019 Bloomberg L.P.