EXCLUSIVE-German battery group BMZ plans September IPO, sources say

FRANKFURT, June 14 (Reuters) - German battery group BMZ is preparing for a Frankfurt stock market listing as early as September with a targeted valuation of about 2 billion euros ($2.4 billion), sources close to the matter told Reuters.

The plans have been forged as battery makers scramble to keep up with demand as the automotive industry and other sectors switch to electric to reduce planet-warming carbon emissions, raising investor interest in pioneering battery businesses.

BMZ is working with Citi, JP Morgan and Berenberg on the initial public offering (IPO), which will sell shares worth about 500 million euros, the sources said.

“We are continually considering our options”, a company spokeswoman said.

The banks declined to comment.

BMZ makes battery systems for a winde range of applications, including e-mobility, forklift trucks, electric bikes, gardenening tools, medical devices and even for storage of electricity generated by solar panels and wind turbines.

In 2020 the company posted revenues of about 400 million euros and expects significant growth this year, catching up on some projects that were delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company could be valued at about five times expected revenue, in line with the valuation of rival Akasol, which trades at 4.8 times expected sales, two of the sources said.

BMZ, based in Karlstein near Frankfurt, takes 300 million battery cells each year to assemble battery systems for industrial clients such as forklift maker Kion, medical device maker Philips and gardening tools maker Stihl. Profitable from the start, BMZ’s annual revenue growth has averaged 20% over the past 10 years.

Europe’s largest battery system maker was founded by entrepreneur Sven Bauer in 1994 and now employs about 3,000 staff at seven sites in Europe, the United States and Asia. ($1 = 0.8255 euros)

Reporting by Arno Schuetze Editing by David Goodman