Wacker Chemie executives have embarked on an international road show to talk up their company with investors prior to an April 10 stock offering on the Frankfurt Securities Exchange.
The family-owned company's goal for the initial public offering (IPO) is to sell about 25% of its shares, raising at least $300 million. The Wacker family will continue to hold just under 56% of Wacker Chemie, which had sales of $3.44 billion in 2005, up 10% over 2004.
The planned share sale comes less than a year after the Wacker family regained full ownership of the firm by buying out the 44% stake held by Sanofi-Aventis. Wacker Chemie then converted itself into a stock corporation in December in anticipation of an IPO.
The money being raised will help the company expand in a variety of business areas. Wacker Chemie, for example, is in the process of expanding its capacity for silicones in China; building a new polysilicone plant in Burghausen, Germany; and expanding capacity for 300-mm silicon wafers in its Siltronic unit at Burghausen and at Freiberg, also in Germany.
"The initial public offer is a milestone in the history of Wacker going back over 90 years," says Peter-Alexander Wacker, head of the management board. "Through access to the capital market, we shall be better able to use the opportunities for growth before us."
In 2003, the company contemplated an IPO of just the Siltronic unit. The plan was scrapped, however, partly because of the business' bad financial performance in 2004 (C&EN, May 9, 2005, page 15).