KKR-owned Hensoldt files for Frankfurt stock market listing

The defence company’s initial public offering could be the largest in Germany this year

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An anti-drone system from Hensoldt is presented at the International Paris Air Show

German defence company Hensoldt said on 8 September that it plans to list on the Frankfurt stock market later this year. KKR, the private equity firm that owns the company, will sell shares in the initial public offering.

The offering was originally planned for spring 2020, but market turmoil due to the coronavirus pandemic forced the company to delay it. According to Bloomberg, KKR is seeking a valuation of €3bn ($3.5bn) and new and existing shares worth 20 to 30 percent of the business will be listed on the stock exchange. This would make it the biggest IPO in Germany this year.

Hensoldt produces military sensors, radars, avionics and optronics. The company expects defence spending to increase around the globe as geopolitical tensions rise and as militaries invest in more technologically advanced solutions. In addition to military equipment, Hensoldt also offers solutions for border security, airport protection and wildlife protection.

Previously owned by Airbus, the company was bought by KKR in 2016 for €2.5-3bn ($3-3.5bn) including debt. In 2019, Hensoldt generated revenues of €1.11bn ($1.31bn). It expects this to rise to more than €1.15bn ($1.36bn) this year and reach between €1.14bn ($1.35bn) and €1.16bn ($1.37bn) in 2021.

During the pandemic, Germany’s economic outlook has been somewhat brighter than its European neighbours’. Whereas Spain recorded an 18.5 percent drop in economic growth in the three months leading up to June, Germany recorded a much lower contraction of 10.1 percent. This has given confidence to companies looking to go public and to investors seeking opportunities in the midst of Europe’s economic downturn.