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Scales seeks up to $186.5m in July IPO

Scales Corp, the fruit and vegetables logistics group, is seeking up to $186.5 million in a July initial public offer, which aims to raise $30 million of new capital and let its major shareholder, private equity firm Direct Capital, sell down its stake.

The Christchurch-based company will sell up to 100.8 million shares at an indicative price range of between $1.60 and $1.85 per shares, it said in a statement. Of that, Scales will offer between 16.2 million and 18.8 million new shares, while Direct Capital will reduce its stake to between 20 percent and 30 percent from its current 84.2 percent share. Direct Capital holds the shares with co-investors ACC and the New Zealand Superannuation Fund. That's expected to value the agribusiness at between $221.3 million to $251.2 million.

Scales said the $30 million of new capital will fund "flexibility for the future expansion of its business" as well as pay down its debt. The company expects to list on the NZX on July 25. After the float, Scales said its average prospective net debt was $44.1 million.

The fruit logistics company forecasts net profit to fall to $15.9 million in 2014 from $20.4 million last year, before rising to $20.8 million in 2015. It expects to pay a dividend of between 9.4 cents per share and 9.6 cents per share, implying a gross dividend yield of 7.2 percent to 8.2 percent, for the 2014 financial year, and between 10.5 cents to 10.7 cents per share, for a gross yield of 8 percent to 9.1 percent, the following year.

Scales also owns and operates air freight service Balance Cargo, has North and South Island cold storage operations Polarcold and Whakatu Coldstores, a fruit juice concentrate business Pro Fruit, and a pet food unit Scales Meateor.

Scales will sell its shares in a three tiered offer, offering shares initially to Pohutukawa investors, a diversified private equity fund managed by Craigs Investment Partners and Direct Capital, from June 27 to July 2. Institutional investors and broker firms will then participate in a bookbuild to determine the final price and allocation of shares. There will be no general public offer, meaning retail investors will need to invest through a brokerage which is allocated shares.

Deutsche Craig and First NZ Capital are lead managers of the offer.

(BusinessDesk)