UPDATE 1-AutoStore seeks to raise $315 mln in one of Norway's largest IPOs

·2 min read

(Adds comments from CEO interview, valuation details)

By Supantha Mukherjee and Terje Solsvik

STOCKHOLM/OSLO, Sept 28 (Reuters) - SoftBank-backed robotics firm AutoStore said on Tuesday it was seeking to raise $315 million by listing on the Oslo Bourse for an initial public offering (IPO) at a valuation that could make it Norway's largest stock launch in two decades.

In April, SoftBank bought https://www.reuters.com/article/us-softbank-group-autostore-idUSKBN2BS1YC a 40% stake in the Norwegian company for $2.8 billion, valuing AutoStore at about $7 billion. Thomas H. Lee Partners and EQT are among its other investors.

AutoStore did not disclose its expected valuation, but based on its last funding round the company could top Adevinta's $6.20 billion IPO in 2019 and also become the largest since the 2001 listing of Statoil, now known as Equinor.

The company did not consider any other venue other than Oslo for listing. "We are a Norwegian company ... it was only natural for us to list in Oslo," CEO Karl Johan Lier told Reuters.

Founded in 1996, AutoStore has 20,000 robots deployed across more than 35 countries to automate warehouse operations. The company also uses robots to densely store and retrieve products, allowing customers to store four times the inventory in the same space.

"We expect that we will continue to grow strongly in Europe, we will grow even stronger in North America and the APAC region going forward," Lier said.

He declined to give any details on valuation.

The IPO could give the company a valuation of around $10 billion, according to a source familiar with the matter. Different valuation numbers were reported in other media, with one going as high as $15 billion.

The company, whose customers include ASDA, Gucci and Lufthansa, plans to use to proceeds to reduce debt, invest in growth and allow share sales by its investors.

AutoStore expects total revenue of about $300 million in 2021 and more than $500 million in 2022 with a project pipeline worth $3.4 billion across 2,000 projects. It reported a net revenue of $182.1 million last year.

The IPO is expected to be priced during October. (Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee, European Technology & Telecoms Correspondent, based in Stockholm; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and David Evans)

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