Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024

By Echo Wang

NEW YORK, Jan 31 (Reuters) – Amer Sports’ AS.N growing reliance on China for revenue is weighing on investor interest in the sporting equipment maker’s U.S. initial public offering (IPO), which had sought to raise up to $1.8 billion, people involved in the process said.

The company behind Arc’teryx outdoor apparel, Salomon sporting goods and Wilson tennis gear generated 19.4% of its sales in China in the first nine months of 2023, up from 8.3% in 2022, its IPO prospectus shows.

Amer Sports represents a major test for the U.S. IPO market after a sizeable but smaller company, BrightSpring Health Services BTSG.O, priced its $633 million offering last week below its indicated range. Shares in BrightSpring, which is owned by private equity firm KKR KKR.N, have since been trading below their discounted IPO price.

Meanwhile, social media platform Reddit is planning to list in New York in March, Reuters reported last week, in one of 2024’s most-anticipated listings.

While the Amer Sports IPO is not in jeopardy, the softening in investor demand has led it to consider a price of $13 per share, below its $16 to $18 per share indicated range, the sources said, cautioning that no decision has been taken.

At that price, Amer Sports would be worth 6.3 billion and the IPO would raise $1.3 billion.

Amer Sports did not respond to a request for comment.

The IPO prospectus shows most of its sales come from the Americas and Europe, and while revenue in these regions has been growing, sales in China were up by 68% in the first nine months of 2023 compared to the corresponding period in 2022.

The sources, who requested anonymity, said on Wednesday that despite this some potential investors are concerned about Amer Sports’ fortunes being intertwined with China’s economy.

A property crisis and a local government debt crunch has driven many investors to reduce their exposure to China.

Amer Sports has also warned in its IPO prospectus that escalating trade tensions could in the future lead to tariffs or other curbs on its ability to sell goods in the U.S. that it makes or sources in China.

Bloomberg News reported earlier on Wednesday that the IPO price that Amer Sports was considering was $13 per share.

The IPO is scheduled to price on Wednesday evening, with the shares debuting on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.

Founded in Helsinki in 1950, Amer Sports was acquired by a consortium of primarily Chinese firms in 2019 for 4.6 billion euros ($5 billion). Anta Sports, a Chinese athletic clothing manufacturer with aspirations to take on Western rivals such as Nike NKE.N and Adidas ADSGn.DE, holds a 56% stake.

Under Anta’s ownership, Amer Sports’ ties to China have grown. The company says in its IPO prospectus it now has key suppliers and manufacturing facilities in China, and that about 33% of its products sourced from third-party suppliers were manufactured in the country in 2022.

Some of the investors have also expressed concerns that the company’s Salomon and Wilson brands are showing lower margins and slower growth than Arc’teryx, the sources said. While Arc’teryx sales rose 65% in the first nine months of 2023, Salomon and Wilson sales rose 35% and 10%, respectively.

(Reporting by Echo Wang in New York; Editing by Greg Roumeliotis, Lincoln Feast and Alexander Smith)

((Greg.Roumeliotis@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646 223 6022; Reuters Messaging: greg.roumeliotis.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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