Commodities trader Glencore has tightened guidance for its planned $11 billion market debut, pushing up the midpoint of the marketing range in an indication of solid demand, sources close to the deal said.
Glencore's initial public offering, potentially London's largest to date, has entered the home stretch after a two-week roadshow during which time commodity prices nosedived, raising doubts in some quarters about appetite for the offer.
But sources close to the deal said last week Glencore would close its books on May 17 — one day ahead of schedule and a day before the official end of presentations to investors — suggesting that the offer has continued to generate interest.
Two sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Monday that the IPO guidance was narrowed to 520-550 pence per share, from its previous, broader guidance of 480-580 pence.
The new range lifts the mid-point of the offer marginally to 535 pence from 530 pence, valuing the world's largest diversified commodities trader at just under 36.9 billion pounds ($60 billion).
The sources said the book is "multiple" times covered across the range, but did not elaborate further. They declined to be identified as the price guidance is not made public.
Monday's narrowed range indicates the company is now unlikely to sell stock at the bottom of the price band, as some investors had hoped, after days of turmoil in commodity markets.
"Did anyone think we'd get it for 480p? I'm not really sure we did, (though) that would have been the most attractive price for us because we still have concerns about the valuation," said one UK investment manager who declined to be named in line with company policy.
"Realistically, it was probably never going to come at that bottom of the old range anyway. Having said that, they don't want a poor aftermarket for this one, so I don't think they should be too silly about the final price."
Underwriters usually send out a new pricing guidance to reflect the range in which the offer has attracted maximum demand. Investors placing orders below the new guidance are unlikely to get their desired allocation of shares.
The final price for the offering is due to be set on May 19, the day it begins conditional trading.
Sources familiar with the deal have said the decision to close books early is not a means of pressuring investors, rather a way of giving bankers more time to work on a complex dual listing stretching over much of the globe.
"People have had plenty of time to come up with their investment views," one of the sources said. "It is just in the interest of the deal that the banks have more time to reflect on the book."
Order books for shares in Glencore were fully covered within hours of the start of the sale process, but part of that success is a result of the relatively small stake in the company being placed with funds and because of Glencore's size, which makes it a must-buy for many.
A senior executive at rival Swiss-based trader Trafigura said on Monday China's monetary tightening should pave the way for sustained commodity demand, while global economic growth this year is expected to boost consumption of resources.
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