Shares in Knorr-Bremse hold their own on Frankfurt debut

Shares in German brake systems manufacturer Knorr-Bremse held their own in early trading on Friday as choppy global markets took the shine off Germany's second biggest stock market debut this year.

Shares opened at 80.10 euros, a shade above their offer price of 80 euros, and edged up to 80.50 euros by 0744 GMT.

"We are very content. If you work towards an IPO, you don't what happens in this exact moment, it's a snapshot. The substance of our company is a very solid one," Klaus Deller, CEO of Knorr-Bremse told CNBC's Annette Weisbach on Friday.

Knorr-Bremse's debut comes after European shares hit their lowest in more than 21 months and Wall Street extended its slide into a sixth session on Thursday as investors fear an escalating U.S.-China trade war and an economic downturn.

Traders sit at their desk at the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.
Thomas Lohnes | Getty Images
Traders sit at their desk at the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

Proceeds from the sale of a 30 percent stake in Knorr-Bremse go to Heinz Hermann Thiele and his daughter, handing them 3.9 billion euros ($4.53 billion) and giving the company a market value of 12.9 billion euros.

It's this year's biggest stock market flotation in Germany after Siemens Healthineers raised 4.2 billion euros.

The IPO comes amid the world facing uncertainties such as Brexit, trade war and a market sell-off in the last few days. However, the Dellar says the company is not affected.

"We are mildly unaffected because you know in the railways sector, there are usually problems that are sponsored by communities, by state government, by public operators. These are not decisions you will change from the course of the stock markets," Dellar told CNBC.

"The macroeconomic environment in Europe and in the United States is solidly positive. We expect that for both segments we will join an upward trend."

Bankers and investors said the IPO was well supported because family-owned Knorr is viewed as an industry leader with a history of consistent profitability, differentiating it from other recent debutants that are trading below their offer price.

Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley acted as joint global coordinators and bookrunners on the Knorr-Bremse deal. In addition, Berenberg, Gossler, Commerzbank, UBS and UniCredit were joint bookrunners.