Affinity is latest to seek Australian IPO

The Hong Kong-based firm has hired Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank to advise on the listing of Loscam. The IPO of the Australian pallet maker could reportedly raise up to A$800m.

Asian buyout firm Affinity Equity Partners has appointed Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank to advise on the prospective listing of Loscam, an Australian pallet company it acquired in 2005, a source has confirmed with PEI Asia.

The company could be listed in the next three to four months, the source said. The flotation could raise up to A$800 million (€512 million; $715 million), a report in the Financial Times stated. Affinity Equity Partners declined to comment.

The Hong Kong-based buyout firm acquired an 80 percent stake in Loscam from what was earlier known as DB Capital Partners, the private equity arm of Deutsche Asset Management in Australia, in a transaction worth A$250 million. Affinity now has a stake of about 77 percent in the business with the remainder held by the company’s management team, according to the source.

Affinity joins several domestic Australian private equity firms who are considering IPOs of their portfolio companies. Most recently, Study Group, an education-focused portfolio company of CHAMP Private Equity, also appointed Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse for a possible IPO this year. The company’s IPO could fetch up to A$600 million, according to local media reports.

CHAMP is also said to be considering the listing of Manassen Foods, a food retailer and distributor, which could raise between A$400 million and A$500 million, according to the Australian Financial Review.

In October last year Archer Capital appointed Goldman Sachs, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch and UBS to advise on the listing of sports retail group Rebel Group, formerly known as Ascendia Retail. The firm did not put a timeframe on its expectations for the IPO, however, the poor performance of the retail sector in recent months indicated the firm is not likely to rush to market.

Poorly performing retail companies include two private equity-backed companies that went public late last year. Shares of TPG-backed Myer Group and Goldman Sachs JBWere Private Equity and Quadrant Private Equity-backed Kathmandu are currently trading below their offer price.

Affinity Equity Partners is currently investing from Affinity Asia Pacific Fund III, which closed on US$2.8 billion in 2007. As of October 2009, the fund is 50 percent invested. The firm has offices in Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney and Jakarta.