Zim files papers to start 2021 with New York shipping IPO

TradeWinds
By Eric Martin –

Fundraiser could seek $100m as Israeli operator seeks access to public equity markets.

Zim Integrated Shipping Services has filed papers to launch an initial public offering in New York, in a bid to make good on long mooted plans to go public.

The Israeli containership operator aims to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange, where it will trade under ticker symbol ZIM, in a move that, if successful, would break a long absence of shipping IPOs on US capital markets.

The Haifa-based company did not give a timing for the IPO but pencilled in the aggregate value for the potential share sale at $100m.

Zim said that the main goal of the effort is to add to working capital and to create a public market for its shares, which would allow it to access equity markets in the future.

“We intend to use the net proceeds from this offering to support long-term growth initiatives, including investing in vessels, containers and other digital initiatives, to strengthen our capital structure, to foster financial flexibility and for general corporate purposes,” the outfit said in a draft prospectus.

The effort is backed by banks Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Barclays as global coordinators, with Jefferies and Clarksons Platou Securities on board as joint bookrunners for the offering, according to the document.

A listing in New York would make Zim the second container liner operator listed on US stock markets, alongside Hawaii’s Matson.

International profile

Unlike Matson, which owns its vessels and is mostly focused on protected US trades, Zim brings a mostly chartered-in fleet and a global profile. It is ranked as the 10th largest operator by aggregate fleet capacity.

Its unique profile relative to other US-listed shipping stocks could work to advantage.

“The market loves logistics and hates the shippers [shipping companies], most of which erroneously get lumped into the same bucket as tankers and correlate with energy,” said J Mintzmyer, lead researcher at Value Investor’s Edge.

“I think Zim has a good chance to help break this cycle by clearly pitching the global logistics business, plus the timing is perfect as we’re in the middle of the biggest containership boom in a decade.”

Eli Glickman-led Zim, which recorded a record profit in the third quarter amid booming box rates, had made no secret of its intentions to go public. The company was reportedly eyeing London and New York as potential locations for a listing, apparently choosing latter.

“We are a global, asset-light container liner shipping company with leadership positions in niche markets where we believe we have distinct competitive advantages that allow us to maximize our market position and profitability,” Zim said in the draft prospectus filed with the US Securities and exchange commission.

The company owns just one vessel, with its remaining 69 ships brought in through charter deals, the IPO papers show.

Zim operates 66 weekly lines serving 310 ports in 80 countries. The company, which carried 2.82m teu in cargo last year, has an aggregate fleet capacity of 359,000 teu.

The company’s largest shareholder is Idan Ofer’s Kenon Holdings, which holds a 32% slice. Deutsche Bank owns 16.7% of Zim’s shares, while Greek containership owner Danaos holds 10.2%.

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