IPOs – Worldpay, Equiniti and McCarthy & Stone

The writer has been wading through the 300 odd pages of the prospectuses for Worldpay (already listed), and Equiniti (due to list on the 30th October). The latter will be available to retail investors via certain stockbrokers if you fancy a punt, although you’ll be taking the price that institutional investors decide to pay. In addition McCarthy & Stone are lining up to float.

I have already written a rather long article for the next ShareSoc Informer newsletter on these three companies (rather long for this blog, but as it may be published after the Equiniti float let me know if you would like an advance copy).

Being a former shareholder (when it was previously publicly listed) in retirement apartment builder McCarthy & Stone I am quite enthusiastic about this business, if the price is right. But like the others, because it is currently held by private equity owners, I suspect it will be no great bargain.

Worldpay, who are a payments company and in a sector this writer knows well, is particularly problematic because it looks quite a mature business in many ways. It may be in the “hot” electronic payments sector, but most of its business is in low margin “processing” of card payments. And could they not have found another Chairman than hyperactive Sir Michael Rake (at least in terms of the number of directorships and chairmanships he holds down)?

Equiniti, is a well diversified business but profits after taking into account interest payments and heavy investment in new technology (like Worldpay), do not seem great. The first two companies will still have considerable debt after floating.

As I emphasise in my full write-up, it is very important to read the full prospectus which will reveal a lot more about the business than you can obtain from press reports and tip sheets. But at over 300 pages you do have to learn how to speed read and skip a lot of the uninteresting content. The prospectuses of Worldpay and Equiniti can easily be found on the internet.

Roger Lawson


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