Peet’s Coffee raises €2.3bn through IPO

Coffee consumption remains resilient during coronavirus pandemic

An employee wearing a protective mask takes an order from a customer at a Peet's Coffee & Tea store in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Wednesday, May 20, 2020. JAB Holdings NV, the investment fund backed by the billionaire Reimann family, plans to raise as much as 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion) by listing its coffee business, showing that the resilience of the beverage during the coronavirus pandemic could end up driving Europe's biggest stock-market debut in more than a year. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
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JDE Peet’s shares surged after holding Europe’s biggest initial public offering this year, drawing investors counting on the Peet’s Coffee owner to weather the pandemic lockdowns and take on giants like Starbucks.

The coffee giant, carved out of the Reimann family’s investment firm JAB Holding, raised €2.3 billion (Dh9.4bn) in an IPO that took just 10 days, condensing what’s usually a four-week process and attracting investor orders that exceeded the number of shares offered by multiple times.

Coffee consumption has remained resilient during the pandemic, moving from offices and cafes into people’s homes, according to JDE Peet’s, which bills itself as the world’s largest pure-play coffee group. Takeovers of coffee companies and cafe chains surged in the last few years, driven in large part by JAB, which has acquired well-known brands such as Caribou Coffee and Keurig Green Mountain, growing to become a rival to Starbucks and Nestle.

JDE Peet’s climbed 13 per cent to €35.50 at 10:51 AM on Friday in its first day of trading in Amsterdam after earlier gaining as much as 17 per cent. The company priced its shares at €31.50 each, according to a statement Friday, in the upper half of the marketed range giving it a market value of €15.6bn.

The company, which had sales of €6.9bn last year, also owns supermarket brands including Douwe Egberts, Jacobs and Kenco as well as US retailers Peet’s and Intelligentsia, giving it access to home brewers.

JDE Peet’s is attractive in part because it should grow at a faster rate than the global economy and also pays a dividend, said Colin McLean, chief investment officer at SVM Asset Management, whose fund participated in the IPO and also bought shares once trading began.

“It’s a stable business making a steady move to premium, higher value-added coffee markets,” he said, describing the trading debut as a “reasonable start.” The initial stock pop was to be expected given the high demand, he said, adding that his fund had received a lower-than-requested allocation.

The pandemic has upended the traditional IPO process, with shorter subscription periods, more cornerstone investors and virtual meetings to pitch the offerings to investors. Cornerstone investors, including funds run by billionaire George Soros’s firm, are taking up a third of JDE Peet’s offering.

The share sale saw strong demand from investors in the US, UK and continental Europe, a person familiar with the transaction said. Given the robust interest, keeping the order book open longer would have only exposed the transaction to downside risk, the person said.

JDE Peet’s offering has raised hopes that the European IPO market, expected to be shut for the better part of the year amid the pandemic, could reopen earlier than initially expected. So far, listings in the region have been limited to a small group of companies either boosted by or experiencing little disruption from the lockdowns caused by the pandemic.

The IPO is the largest listing on a European exchange since brake systems maker Knorr-Bremse €3.9bn offering in October 2018, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. JDE Peet’s sold 22.2 million new shares, raising €700 million in gross proceeds.

Shareholders Mondelez International and Acorn Holdings, a company owned by JAB and other investors, sold existing shares for about €1.55bn.

Recent firms to have braved virus-related turmoil with an IPO have been rewarded by investors. Video-conferencing company Pexip Holdings shot up in its Oslo debut this month, trading 37 per cent up on the IPO price, while data management provider Exasol has risen 36 per cent since listing in Frankfurt on Monday. German drug-maker Pharma is also preparing to try its luck soon.