CWH in ‘IPO charm offensive’


Chemist Warehouse has reportedly begun courting several fund managers, potentially ready for the biggest float in years

“Chemist Warehouse has launched an initial public offering charm offensive,” write Sarah Thompson, Anthony Macdonald and Tim Boyd in the Australian Financial Review’s Street Talk column.

It’s the latest installment in a move that’s been anticipated since 2017, when Street Talk began to speculate that the discount giant was readying to list on the ASX.

In February 2021 The Australian published rumours that an initial public offer, which has been much speculated about in financial circles, could be pushed back to 2022, with Dataroom’s Bridget Carter writing that accorder to her sources, Chemist Warehouse was in no rush to list.

At the time it was suggested that a drop in daigou trade thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic could have slowed the process.

Days later, Street Talk said it was suggested that the group was readying to formally ask banks to “pitch for a role in floating” it.

Now, Street Talk’s writers report that on Tuesday night, a “select group” of fund managers were invited to a dinner at the Rockpool restaurant in Sydney, to hear the latest from the company.

This is the first time they have noted the discounter briefing such investors since the 2019 Credit Suisse Asian equities conference in Hong Kong.

“It is understood the invitations were sent around by Macquarie Capital’s investment banking team, which is the first time the Silver Donut’s bankers have been spotted in Chemist Warehouse’s camp,” write Ms Thompson, Mr Macdonald and Mr Boyd.

“If Chemist Warehouse does pull the trigger on a float – and keeping lines of communication with investors open by shouting steaks and wine at Rockpool are a good indication that it’s leaning that way – it’s expected to be valued north of $5 billion.”

They write that this proves to be correct, Chemist Warehouse’s float would be the biggest since 2014, when Medibank Private launched with a $5.7 billion market value.

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