December 7, 2018 / 2:37 PM / in 10 days

Portugal china maker VAA dishes out shares to support global push

LISBON, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Portugal’s leading fine china maker Vista Alegre Atlantis (VAA) has launched a secondary share offering to significantly increase its free float and support what it sees as strong growth opportunities in Europe, the Americas and Asia.

VAA Chairman Nuno Marques, who is also CEO of VAA’s controlling shareholder Visabeira, told Reuters the company has in the past 10 years boosted the share of overseas sales to almost 70 percent from 30 percent, with exports focussed primarily on Spain, Italy, France and Germany.

Founded almost 200 years ago, VAA is a household name in Portugal. It barely survived the economic and financial crisis at the start of the decade but has made an exemplary, export-led turnaround since. Portugal’s economic recovery owes a lot to a massive export push by small and mid-sized companies like VAA.

“We are doing this share offering to mark a clear presence in the capital market and to grow internationally,” he said, adding that VAA wanted to make it into Portugal’s PSI20 bluechip share index.

VAA is seeking to boost its free float from just 2.46 percent to up to 30 percent.

The company plans a public offering in Portugal and an institutional offer to national and international investors.

It plans to issue 21.8 million new shares, equivalent to 12.5 percent of its expanded share capital, while Visabeira plans to sell 8.7 million existing shares, a 5 percent stake, which if successful could be expanded by a further 13 million shares, a 7.5 percent stake.

The shares will be priced at between 1 euro and 1.3 euros each. VAA’s shares were trading at 1.22 euros on Friday.

In the last five years, VAA’s annual sales rose to 85 million euros ($96.8 million) from 54 million, while the EBITDA margin that measures profitability rose to 16 percent from 10 percent in a turnaround that VAA wants to showcase to investors in meetings this week in London, Madrid, Paris and Frankfurt.

The offering ends on Dec. 12.

Marques said there was still room to grow sales in its four main European markets, but also “an enormous potential in the American market”, as well as China, India and Japan.

VAA makes china and glassware widely used by hotels and restaurants as well as higher end design pieces for homes.

Aside from North America, where it now sells just 1-2 percent of its products, VAA sees room for sales growth in Portuguese-speaking Brazil, where it has been popular for some time and now sells around 4 percent of its output.

With six plants in Portugal, VAA is investing 50 million euros to increase capacity and efficiency between this year and 2020. In the first half of 2018, net profit soared 41 percent to 1.86 million euros while sales rose over 2 percent to 42 million. ($1 = 0.8783 euros) (Reporting by Sergio Goncalves; Writing by Andrei Khalip; Editing by Adrian Croft)

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