Banks pitch for Rexel float

The private equity consortium backing Rexel has given banks until today (Thursday September 14) to pitch for a mandate to act as bookrunner in the company’s planned flotation early next year, according to French bankers.

It is reported that Rexel could raise as much as €4bn through the listing, valuing the company at approximately €7bn–€8bn. The private equity trio of Clayton Dubilier & Rice, Eurazeo and Merrill Lynch’s private equity arm paid €3.7bn for the distribution company in March 2005, when it acquired it from French luxury retailer Pinault Printemps Redoute (PPR).

The buyout was an interesting process, being a rare example of a dual-track operation for a listed company rather than for an IPO. Calyon and HSBC were mandated to advise PPR on an ECM sale of its 73% stake, while HSBC and Rothschild advised on a private transaction – which proved to be the preferred approach. Due to this previous relationship Calyon and HSBC are likely to be the preferred banks this time around.

Since the acquisition, Rexel has bought GE Supply for US$725m and has reported net profits for H1 2006 of €104.6m, more than double those of the same period in 2005. Bankers said that assuming the IPO was mandated within September, an IPO could come in the first quarter of 2007.