(Reuters) March 4, 2011 – International Meal Company, a Brazilian restaurant operator, and shareholders raised 412.4M reais (US$249M) in an initial public offering.
The Sao Paulo-based firm and the Brasil Emprendimentos fund sold a combined 30.5 million voting shares at a price of 13.50 reais each, according to a newspaper announcement on Friday. The company controls the buffet-type chain Viena and fast-food roadside restaurant Frango Assado.
The price came in at the bottom of the 13.50 reais to 16.50 reais price range estimated on Feb. 21. IMC, as the company is known, will use the proceeds from the IPO to open more outlets, reform existing ones and reduce its long-term debt.
The IMC deal comes as other deals are failing to lure interest from foreign investors — traditionally the main buyers of new equity listings in Brazil — due to growing risk aversion and a perceived glut of shares on the nation’s stock markets.
Investors are starting to favor Mexico and Colombia, where valuations are cheaper and demand from local investors is solid.
The process to take the restaurant chain public took about a year and a half as Advent and other partners in the investment struggled to weather market turbulence. IMC, which followed two years of losses with a profit of 7.9M reais last year, had to suspend its IPO a year ago.
At the time, Patrice Etlin, who heads Advent’s Brazil operations, told Reuters in an interview that halting the share sale “was the best decision we could have made.”
Yet, another eight companies have filed to sell shares in Brazil in the coming months, and recently the chief executive of the BM&FBovespa stock exchange operator (BVMF3.SA) said that there should be an average two listings per week in Brazil through the end of April.
The investment banking units of Credit Suisse (CSGN.VX), BTG Pactual [BTG.UL], Banco Santander (SAN.MC)(SANB11.SA), Banco Bradesco (BBDC4.SA) and Itau Unibanco (ITUB4.SA) managed the IMC transaction.
The shares are due to debut in the Sao Paulo stock exchange on March 9 under the symbol “IMCH3.” ($1=1.655 reais)
By Guillermo Parra-Bernal