Spanish pharmaceutical firm Almirall ended its first day of trading on the country's stock exchanges with a price of 15 euros per share, representing a rise of over 7% compared to its initial public offering price.
The latter had been set at 14 euros per share which valued the Barcelona-based firm at around 2.30 billion euros. It is offering a little over 27% of its share capital, which could rise to 30%, if a purchase option or 'green shoe' is taken up by the financial institutions leading the deal, including Morgan Stanley, Lehman Brothers and Banco Santander.
Almirall said the share performance “is interpreted by the company as demonstrating the market’s trust” in its future. Chief executive Jorge Gallardo noted that the firm has worked hard “to ensure that the market backed our project. The response has been highly positive and we are extremely satisfied”.
The offering was oversubscribed almost fourfold and investors took advantage of the company's somewhat cautious final IPO price of 14 euros. Analysts liked the look of privately-owned Almirall so once it hit the market it was clearly going to be an attractive stock. The price seems cheap, given that the firm already has a successful range of drugs on the market, led by the migraine treatment Almorgran (almotriptan) and the antihistamine Ebastel (ebastine), which provide solid cash flow and the company offers less risk than biotechnology firms such as fellow Spanish group Zeltia.
The offering will bring more liquidity to the stock and provide extra funds to support its R&D efforts, most notably for Eklira (aclidinium bromide) for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Almirall is also expected to acquire other firms and Mr Gallardo has told reporters that he has his eye on a European company that earns 50 million euros a year, “but basically we are just looking, and negotiations are not at an advanced stage.” By Kevin Grogan