John Laing eyes £865m valuation

The UK developer aims to raise £130m on the London Stock Exchange to forge ahead with its global expansion efforts and fund new investments.

 

London-based John Laing is targeting a market capitalisation of between £715.5 million (€953 million; $1.1 billion) and £865.5 million through a listing on the London Stock Exchange.

The group, which aims to raise £130 million, plans to use the proceeds to fuel its international expansion efforts and “fund new investment commitments”. Its determination of a price range of between 195 pence to 245 pence per share follows its decision to seek a float earlier this month.

The total size of the listing is expected to deliver a free float of between 30 percent and 60 percent. Pricing and allocations, as well as conditional dealing in the shares, are due to commence on 12 February.

The listing will see UK asset manager Henderson Equity Partners, John Laing’s current owner, sell down part of its stake in the group. The firm, which committed to a 180-day lock-up following admission, bought John Laing in 2006 for £1 billion as the only asset in its £573 million PFI Fund II.

The investment suffered during the Crisis years, leading 22 of Henderson’s limited partners (LPs) to take the firm to court over alleged breach of mandate in 2012. The matter was settled in January 2013 with Henderson accepting to foot its LPs’ legal bills but refusing to admit liability.

John Laing’s fortunes have shored up since, with the company winning large tenders such as Queensland’s New Generation Rolling Stock project, the new Perth Stadium and Sport Precinct and Florida's I-4 Ultimate project. About 70 percent of the group’s business is now generated abroad.

“Today’s announcement represents an important milestone as John Laing takes another significant step towards becoming a listed company. With its proven track record and the increasing need for new infrastructure worldwide, we firmly believe that John Laing will continue to deliver value to shareholders,” commented Olivier Brousse, who became the company’s chief executive in January last year.

John Laing hasn’t been involved in construction since 2001, when it offloaded its dedicated unit for a nominal £1 after posting whopping losses on a new stadium project in Cardiff. It then refocused its business on originating, investing in and managing public-private partnerships and Private Finance Initiative assets, which saw it own a stake in UK roads, rail and hospitals projects.

In subsequent years the group floated parts of its operating assets in two London-listed vehicles, John Laing Infrastructure Fund (JLIF) and John Laing Environmental Fund (JLEN).

JLIF in December made a £1 billion bid for the investment arm of Balfour Beatty, an unsolicited offer later rejected by the UK developer.