Dutch lender NIBC has announced an increased first-half operating income of €226 million, up from €165 million during the same period a year ago. The bank, backed by J.C. Flowers & Co., has also said that it is conducting a strategic review, which could result in an IPO.
JCF acquired the lender for €1.8 billion in 2005 and was said to be preparing NIBC for an IPO, but the firm was forced to restructure the business after the financial crisis due to its US subprime mortgage exposure.
While no further details were provided regarding its valuation in a flotation or block sale, NIBC's book value, which reportedly stood at more than €2 billion at the end of the first half of 2017, offers an indication of the possible size.
From a timing perspective, a flotation would appear to be opportunistic. While total public offerings
declined nearly 48% worldwide from 2014 to 2016, per the PitchBook Platform, that figure
dropped by only 24% in Europe over the same period.
Yearly IPO count % change by region, 2013-2016
Further to this,
Europe overtook the US in 2016 as the most common place for listings and is on track to maintain its lead this year.
PE investors in financial assets appear to have taken note of the buoyant environment. Cerberus Capital Management has reportedly hired Rothschild to advise on the flotation of Austrian lender BAWAG, which it has backed since 2006. JCF also appears to have already tested the waters itself when it listed a 10% stake in its portfolio business OneSavings Bank earlier this year.