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“A good Equity story is the key to a successful IPO”

The Chief Financial Officer of Aargau‑based Aluflexpack, which was recently listed on the Swiss exchange, shares his experience.

Aluflexpack is one of the newcomers on the Swiss exchange. The Aargau‑based flexible packaging specialist went public on 28 June 2019. Some of its multinational clients include Ferrero, Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE), Sanofi, Müller and Dr. Oetker. Johannes Steurer, an Austrian native and CFO of the company since 2012, walked us through the long journey that led to the IPO.

Aluflexpack went public on the Swiss exchange on 28 June. What were some of the big challenges of such an operation?

Going public is a big challenge, particularly for a SME like us, which has fewer resources than a big corporation does. The challenges aren’t just limited to legal requirements like creating a detailed listing prospectus. We also had to develop and explain what we call our “equity story” so that our business model, company objectives and growth plans are very clear to investors. That is truly the key to a successful IPO. The marketing events held before the IPO are also essential and need to be executed very carefully. In total, our preparation before the IPO lasted a year and a half.

On a personal level, how did you handle this IPO?

An IPO is typically something that you only experience once in your life as a CFO. So it’s difficult to have lots of experience with it. However, many steps are dependent on you. During our preparations for the IPO, I benefited from the experience of our majority shareholder Montana Tech Components, which had already successfully helped Varta complete its IPO two years ago. Hence, I was able to get advice on best practices. One of the things that surprised me was that there was a lot of interest from US investors.

How much were your partner banks, ZKB and Berenberg, involved in the process?

A substantial part of the work was done internally, but it’s very important to be supported by the right sparring partners during this process. Among others, you can discuss and refine your equity story with your partners. The SIX team was also very effective in helping us, by setting clear guidelines and promptly responding to our questions.

Did you learn anything about your own company during this process?

The IPO helped make the company more transparent. We had to unveil so much information, which helped refine our strategy and our processes. Our internal organisation definitely benefited from the IPO. At the end of the process, our company had a more professional image to share with the public, our clients, our suppliers and our employees.

Did you ever think of going public somewhere other than on the Swiss Exchange?

No, being on the SIX Swiss Exchange was a clear choice. We have a production site at Einsiedeln (SZ), and Switzerland, along with Liechtenstein, is our third largest market. Furthermore, the country is stable and is a reassuring environment for investors around the world.

 
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