Hirepool withdraws IPO amid pressure on price

Photo by ODT.
Photo by ODT.

In a surprise move, Hirepool cancelled its initial public offering (IPO) of up to $262 million yesterday.

It would have been one of the country's largest IPO's this year.

Hirepool's 64% majority owner, Australian private equity company Next Capital, launched the IPO only last week.

Had it been successful, Next Capital and its co-investors had intended to sell down their collective stakes to 20%-35% of Hirepool.

Industry sources believe large institutional investors had balked at the estimated $1.10-$1.50 share price range, and had offered less, prompting Hirepool to pull out.

The IPO's final share price was due to have been announced yesterday.

However, in a brief statement yesterday, Hirepool Group advised it had decided not to proceed with its IPO at this time.

''Given the strength of the New Zealand economy and the positive outlook for Hirepool, Next Capital Pty Ltd, on behalf of the Next Capital Funds, have determined that they are comfortable retaining control of the Hirepool business,'' the company said.

One industry source, who did want to be named, believed institutional investors had been applying ''pressure behind the scenes'', to get a share price below $1.10.

''The institutionals were likely being hard on the pricing, while they [Hirepool] weren't prepared to give it away,'' the source said.

The New Zealand Herald reported yesterday Australian media had reported mounting pressure to have the float repriced, perhaps to as low as 90c a share.

Local fund managers confirmed to the Herald that institutions were putting on pressure behind the scenes before the book-building process.

''We are being asked to pay a big price for a company that has been run pretty hard by private equity,''one fund manager, who requested anonymity, said.

Hirepool at a glance Majority-owned by Sydney-based private equity company Next Capital and its co-investor Macquarie Group.

They purchased Hirepool in 2006 for $172 million.

In 2012 it bought Dunedin-based competitor HireQuip, after it went into receivership owing banks $117 million.

Hirepool's 58 outlets around make it the largest equipment rental company in the country.

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