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Amer Sports, owner of brands including Salomon, Wilson and Arc’teryx, has filed for an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange, as the Chinese-owned company looks to raise money to reduce its debts.
Amer was founded in Finland in 1950 and bought in 2019, in a deal that valued it at $5.6bn, by a consortium led by Anta Sports of China, which makes sportswear under its own brand and has the Chinese rights for Italian brand Fila. Video game maker Tencent and Lululemon founder Chip Wilson were also part of the acquiring group.
To finance that deal, Anta’s consortium took out a €1.3bn loan that expires in March, underscoring the importance of a successful listing. Thursday’s filing gave no financial details of the proposed equity issue, but people familiar with the matter have previously said the goal was to raise more than $1bn at a valuation of $10bn.
Amer said in its filing that it intended to use the proceeds of any transaction to pay off outstanding shareholder loans.
Its revenues in the first nine months of 2023 were up 30 per cent to $3.1bn, although losses in the period widened from $104mn to $114mn. The company generates about 15 per cent of its sales in Greater China, with the bulk coming from the US and Europe. The filing also shows that at the end of 2022, the company had net debt of $5.8bn.
Companies raised $123bn globally last year on the IPO market, according to accountancy EY, down from $184bn in 2022 and $460bn in 2021. The number of new listings also fell to 1,298 from 1,415 a year earlier and a 2021 peak of 2,436.
Analysts at EY have blamed high inflation, rising interest rates and the poor market performance of those that did list for the muted investor demand for IPOs. However, the prospect of interest rate cuts “could encourage investors by offering a more reliable return on investment in IPOs, which should boost activity”, they said.
Several companies have filed paperwork for IPOs in the past few weeks, including UK commodities broker Marex and casual dining chain Panera.
Anta Sports is based in the southern Chinese province of Fujian and has become one of the country’s top sports brand. Last year it overtook Adidas as the second-bigger sportswear retailer in China by sales, with revenue of $7.8bn.
However, the industry outlook is under increased scrutiny since Nike announced $2bn of cost cuts last month, sending its stock down more than 10 per cent. Nike also warned that demand in China and Europe was weakening.
Amer has appointed Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley as bookrunners for the IPO.
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