Mar 22, 2023
Chemicals Producer WE Soda Restarts Work on London IPO
(Bloomberg) -- WE Soda, the world’s largest producer of natural soda ash, is resuming preparations for a potential London initial public offering that could take place as soon as this year, people familiar with the matter said.
The company has recently added BNP Paribas SA and Deutsche Bank AG as bookrunners on the deal, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. It’s considering a potential listing as soon as the second half of the year, though it hasn’t decided on a precise timeline, the people said.
WE Soda, which was earlier aiming to be valued at roughly $5 billion in any deal, is discussing seeking a significantly higher market capitalization after its profits jumped, the people said.
The company is controlled by Turkish industrial conglomerate Ciner Group. It had earlier hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. to lead the IPO as joint global coordinators, Bloomberg News reported last year.
Deliberations are ongoing, and details of the potential offering could change, the people said. Representatives for WE Soda, BNP and Deutsche Bank declined to comment.
WE Soda’s earnings have surged as energy costs drive the price of soda ash higher. The company produces almost 5 million metric tons of natural soda ash and sodium bicarbonate annually, according to its website.
Soda ash is primarily used for glass-making and is also a key ingredient for chemicals used in lithium ion batteries, which could add to demand in the future. While most of global supply is produced synthetically using brine and limestone in an energy-intensive process, WE Soda extracts it in its mineral form at sites in Turkey. It also has a new greenfield project in Wyoming expected to come onstream before 2030.
Ciner Group also has a presence in the energy, shipping and media industries. It operates the BloombergHT television channel in Turkey under a deal with Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News.
(Updates with details of potential valuation in third paragraph.)
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