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No Irish IPOs for 2002 Back  
C&C may not go to market again, a panel of Ireland’s leading corporate financiers have predicted. Instead it may break up its brands and sell them off, although C&C chief executive Maurice Pratt has, in recent days, said they have no plans to sell. The panel also expect that there will now be no Irish public offerings in 2002.
A panel of corporate finance practitioners were polled by Finance to gauge their reactions to C&C’s last minute decision not to go ahead with its planned IPO for the Dublin and London stock markets, and to examine the impact this decision will have on the Irish public offerings market.
The panel overwhelmingly agreed that C&C were right in their decision to pull the IPO, but the reasons given for the cancellation varied. One respondent said that market conditions made it impossible to obtain fair value for the shares being sold, while another said that they had probably no option if there was not enough take-up of the share offer by prospective institutional investors. One corporate financier said that if C&C went ahead, their IPO price would needed to have fallen significantly below their stated range in order to ensure the offering was a success. On the matter of the timing of the postponement, all respondents questioned the appropriateness of pulling the deal the day before it was to be launched, with one wondering whether it should have ever got this far in the current weak climate.
As to whether or not C&C will attempt to go public at a later date, the panel were unsure with some suggesting they would next year, and another in 12-18 months depending on the timing of the recovery of the markets. One respondent said that as the reasons for undertaking the IPO still exist, it is likely that they will return to the market as soon as possible, provided that BC Partners, the majority shareholder, doesn’t look to sell out. The majority however predicted that BC Partners would look to sell the company either in a trade sale of the group or by piecemeal disposals of the group’s brands.
As for another company going down the same route of an IPO in 2002, the panellists all agreed that in present market conditions, and after the postponement of the Spectel IPO, they couldn’t see any Irish company taking the plunge and testing the waters this year.

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