September 14, 2018 / 3:53 PM / a year ago

Swiss trainmaker Stadler hires Alantra to advise on possible IPO

FRANKFURT/ZURICH, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Swiss trainmaker Stadler has hired corporate finance adviser Alantra to lay the groundwork for a possible initial public offering, sources told Reuters on Friday, an option long considered by the rail company's billionaire owner Peter Spuhler.

Alantra, which two sources said would advise Stadler on the choice of banks to direct the IPO, declined to comment.

One of the sources said Stadler would likely wait until at least 2019 for the transaction, after it had released financial results for the current year.

Alantra, whose co-owner Kurt Rueegg sits on Stadler's board of directors, bills itself as an independent global mid-market investment banking and asset management firm with offices including in Europe, the United States, Latin America and Asia.

In an interview published earlier this week, Spuhler, 59, told Swiss newspaper Handelszeitung he had conducted preliminary checks to determine whether his company was ready for a share sale. If it came to that, Spuhler added, he would reduce his stake to less than 50 percent.

On Friday, a Stadler spokeswoman said "An IPO is one option. There's no decision yet."

Stadler, which has around 7,600 workers, had sales last year of 2.4 billion Swiss francs ($2.48 billion).

It aims to boost revenue to 3.9 billion francs by 2020, as it wins more business from customers that today include CalTrain in the United States, Wales & Borders in Britain, and Russia's rail company Aeroexpress that bought trains ahead of the 2018 World Cup to ferry visitors from airports to Moscow. ($1 = 0.9662 Swiss francs) (Additional reporting by John Miller in Zurich, Andres Esteban Gonzalez in Madrid)

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