French building materials group Consolis prepares for fall float: sources

LONDON/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Privately held French building materials company Consolis is preparing for an IPO in the European fall and hopes to benefit from strong stock markets and a rebound in the economy. French construction industry, sources familiar with the matter said.

Consolis owner Bain Capital asked Rothschild ROTH.PA to act as an adviser on the IPO, which could value the company at around 1.5 billion euros ($1.8 billion), including debt, they said.

Bain and Rothschild declined to comment.

Consolis manufactures precast concrete parts, such as walls, bridges, tunnels, pipes or railway sleepers. It employs more than 11,000 people and achieved a stable turnover of 1.4 billion euros in 2017, half of the sales being made in Scandinavian countries.

Investment banks have been told to prepare this month to play the role of “global coordinators”, the sources said.

Consolis was acquired last year by Bain Capital from LBO France for an undisclosed amount. Its roots date back to the 19th century, when French engineer Aime Bonna founded a supplier of reinforced concrete pipes.

This company then acquired the building materials group Sateba, which specializes in systems for attaching concrete blocks together, a standard building material used in the railway industry.

Sateba belonged for nearly 80 years to the historic Compagnie Générale des Eaux. AXA Private Equity then bought the company, which would later be called Bonna Sabla, in 2002.

It was renamed Consolis in 2005 after a merger with Scandinavian construction company Consolis and was sold to investor Industri Kapital in 2006.

The European construction sector had mixed fortunes in the first quarter.

Still supported in France by the gradual recovery of the construction market and major projects in Greater Paris, activity in Northern Europe was however affected by particularly severe winter weather conditions.

The Swedish construction industry has boomed in recent years thanks to the rise in residential construction caused by soaring house prices. The housing market, however, showed signs of faltering, leading to an increase in bankruptcies among small builders and a sharp drop in construction forecasts over the next two years.

($1 = 0.8361 euros)

Additional reporting by Gilles Guillaume and Niklas Pollard; Editing by Tom Sims/Keith Weir