Bulgarian poultry meat producer Gradus AD has raised BGN81.4 million (US$48.1 million) from the sale of shares on the country’s stock exchange.
In what emerged as the largest initial public offering (IPO) on the Bulgarian Stock Exchange (BSE) since 2007, Gradus offered 55.6 million shares over two days, reported See News. These shares represent a 25 percent stake in the company, and were offered at a price of BGN1.80-2.35.
In January of 2018, Gradus decided to increase its capital by up to BGN100 million through the issue of new shares, and then by a further BGN28 million two months later, according to an audited financial statement.
The capital raised by the IPO will be used to develop existing and new business lines for food products, which are among the least represented on the BSE and yet represent a rapidly growing sector of the overall market, according to Novinite.
Gradus was set to report annual net profit of BGN34 million on revenue of BGN200 million, reported the same news agency earlier this year. The firm is among the largest meat producers in Bulgaria with a domestic market share of 35 per cent in the poultry meat sector.
Founded in 1992 by Luka and Ivan Angelovi, Gradus AD has grown to become the largest poultry producer in Bulgaria, according to the firm’s own web site. It is vertically integrated, with a feed mill opened in 2001, a hatchery that started operations in 2005, and a poultry processing plant that began production the following year.
In 2016, Gradus announced a significant investment to upgrade its poultry processing plant at Stara Zagora in the south of Bulgaria, where the firm is based.
Potential growth in the poultry sector is attracting investments in other central European countries. In recent days, Aaylex of Romania has announced plans to expand its poultry meat business, supported by Polish capital.