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Greek stock market's first IPO since 2009 draws mixed reception

By Angeliki Koutantou

Greek renewable energy firm ELTEH Anemos sold all the shares it hoped to in an initial public offering, albeit at the bottom of its price range - pointing to a mixed reception for the country's first IPO since its debt crisis began in 2009.

Greek stocks have been battered by the country's six-year recession and debt crisis that forced Athens to turn to the European Union and the International Monetary Fund for about 240 billion euros in aid.

But market sentiment has picked up in recent months for Greece, which expects to emerge from recession this year and successfully returned to bond markets twice this year after a four-year exile.

Subscriptions for the IPO exceeded the 20.67 million ordinary shares on offer, with more than half coming from institutional investors, lead manager NBG Securities said on Monday in a bourse filing.

But the offer price was set right at the bottom of the 1.70-1.97 euro range, it said. Based on that, the firm raised 35.1 million euros ($47.9 million).

The July 9-11 offering also took place against a backdrop of unease in European stock markets triggered by concerns over the financial health of the chief shareholder in Portugal's biggest listed bank, Banco Espirito Santo (BES).

"We are satisfied because we managed to complete the capital increase in adverse conditions,» ELTEH Anemos Chief Operating Officer Theodoros Sietis said, citing investor scepticism due to the turmoil in Portugal.

"It is a vote of confidence in the company."

Concern about Banco Espirito Santo had also hit demand for a Greek three-year bond last week, the country's second foray since it returned to markets in April after a four-year exile.

Greece raised 1.5 billion euros from the sale, short of the 2.5 billion to 3 billion euros it was expected to raise.

Some analysts said the IPO fell short of expectations.

"We expected the IPO to be oversubscribed by one and a half times,» said Nikos Kafkas, an analyst at Merit Securities.

"Nevertheless, the result was satisfactory since the IPO coincided with strong selling pressure on European shares last week due to the Portuguese turmoil."

Anemos, a unit of Greece's biggest construction group Ellaktor, is a mid-sized renewable energy producer, operating 12 wind parks, a solar plant and a hydroelectric plant in Greece, with 170 megawatts in total installed capacity.

The company has said it would use the proceeds from the IPO to finance part of a 118 million euro investment plan for new wind parks, which will enhance its capacity by about 94 megawatts by 2015.

Renewable energy is one of few industries in Greece that has continued to expand through the recession, thanks to generous state subsidies.

The new shares are expected to start trading on the Athens stock exchange on July 22.

[Reuters]

ekathimerini.com , Monday Jul 14, 2014 (13:40)  
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