NeSBIC fund achieves first IPO with VersaTel

Amsterdam-based VersaTel Telecom International in July raised euro 190 million new equity through a simultaneous IPO on Nasdaq and AEX, scoring a first IPO for the NeSBIC CTE Fund less than four months after the vehicle’s final close. A fast-growing facilities-based competitive network operator focusing primarily on the business market, VersaTel aims to become the leading integrated provider of facilities-based broadband services in the Benelux.

NeSBIC first backed VersaTel as a start-up in 1995. The group’s latest investment in VersaTel a Ng3.25 million growth capital injection in May 1998 was made through the euro 50 million NeSBIC CTE Fund which, because of its focus on converging technologies, is now NeSBIC’s primary mechanism for telecoms investment. VersaTel also received venture backing from investors including ParibasDeelnemingen and NPM Capital.

The VersaTel IPO, led by Lehman Brothers and co -managed by ING Barings, Bear Stearns, Hambrecht & Quist, Paribas and E*Trade, encountered enormous demand. As a result, the issue was priced at euro 10, at the high end of the initial price range, and had a first quote of euro 11.50. Lehman Brothers and ING Barings managed a concurrent offering of senior notes, raising VersaTel a further euro 300 million. The company’s venture backers are locked in for a year post-flotation.

The NeSBIC CTE fund has made ten investments to date, the most recent of which were in Poseidon SA, a French software company specialising in 3D surveillance applications, and EasyPhone, a Portuguese contact-centre software solutions firm. Investment director Robert Wilhelm says the fund has now committed slightly more than half its capital and confirmed that NeSBIC is shaping up to launch a successor vehicle during the first quarter next year to guarantee continuity.