National Beef postpones IPO amid weak demand

AP News
Posted: Dec 17, 2009 2:11 PM

Faced with an unappetizing IPO market, beef processor National Beef Packing Co. canceled its planned initial public offering Thursday _ the fifth company to do so in December.

The Kansas City, Mo., company said it was postponing its offering due to the "current weakness in the IPO market."

Three IPOs this week have priced below expectations. Of the eight IPOs set to go public last week, half did not launch and three priced below expectations or traded lower than their offering price.

The IPO market began heating up in September as stocks rallied, but has recently lost steam. The market had dried up during the financial crisis.

On Thursday, Kraton Performance Polymers Inc. shares were up 1 cent in afternoon trading in their debut. The Houston company's 10.3 million share offering priced at $13.50 apiece, well below the hoped-for price between $16 and $18 per share.

National Beef is the country's fourth-largest beef processor. It had planned to offer 17.3 million shares for $15 to $17 each. Assuming a stock price of $16 each, National Beef had said it expected proceeds of $255.7 million after deducting expenses. The company had planned to use proceeds to buy shares from company founders and reduce debt.

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Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse Securities LLC, Barclays Capital, BMO Capital Markets and Stephens Inc. were to underwrite the offering.

The company posted $4 billion in sales through the first three quarters of its fiscal year, down 5 percent from a year ago. Its profit rose 85 percent.