×

Silicon maker Elkem drops in IPO debut, confident in outlook despite trade jitters

jitters@

* Drops 6.9 pct in Oslo Bourse debut

* Expects double-digit growth in 2018

* Considering small acquisitions

* Sees little impact from potential trade war

OSLO, March 22 (Reuters) -

** Shares in Norway's Elkem, a producer of silicon-based advanced materials and a supplier to steel makers, IT hardware and chemical firms, fell 6.9 percent in its debut on the Oslo Bourse on Thursday

** IPO price was set at 29 crowns, valuing Elkem at 16.86 billion Norwegian crowns ($2.18 billion) compared to an indicated price range of 29-31 crowns per share. The shares fell to 27 crowns shortly after the 0800 GMT open, before making a partial recovery to trade at 27.75 crowns at 1332 GMT

** Despite the share price fall, CEO Helge Aasen was confident in Elkem's outlook

** "It's important to grow, and long-term target is 5-6 percent. In 2018 we will have double-digit growth," Aasen told a news conference

** He said Elkem had been accused by both Canada and the United States of dumping prices on silicon metals, which are used as a raw material for silicones

** "The process in Canada has ended, with no extra tariffs against Elkem. In the U.S. we are waiting for the final conclusion. If anything, the tariff will be 3.2 pct on silicon metal," Aasen said

** "There are no tariffs on silicones", he added

** Out of Elkem's proforma 2017 revenues of 21.4 billion Norwegian crowns, around 5 billion was related to silicon metals

** Europe is Elkem's largest market, buying about 44 percent of total sales, while Asia represents 40 percent and the Americas 15 percent. China alone, which is the fastest expanding market, buys 25 percent

** Elkem employs 6,100 people, of which 2,200 in China, at 27 plants globally

** Aasen also said Elkem was looking for smaller acquisitions, in the size of about 50 million to 200 million crowns, to strengthen its specialised portfolio in the silicones value chain

** China's Bluestar retains a 61.8 percent stake after the IPO, which may be reduced to 56.1 percent via an over-allotment option. ($1 = 7.7316 Norwegian crowns) (Reporting by Ole Petter Skonnord, editing by Terje Solsvik)