Company Briefs: Levi Strauss & Co

Levi Strauss & Co

Levi Strauss & Co hopes to sell US$587 million (S$796 million) worth of shares in an upcoming return to the stock market after three decades, which would value the inventor of blue jeans at US$6.17 billion and give it a potful of cash to invest in broadening its product range.

The company, which has 385.5 million shares outstanding, expects to offer 36.7 million shares priced between US$14 and US$16 per share in an initial public offering (IPO), reported Reuters.

"The valuation is fair and as expected. It is also a good time for Levi's to go public due to the resurgence of 80s blue jeans fashion," said Mr Eric Schiffer, chief executive officer of California-based private equity firm Patriarch Organisation.

Levi Strauss, which also sells footwear, belts and wallets, reported annual net revenue of US$5.6 billion last year.

The descendants of founder Levi Strauss, the Hass family, will retain 80 per cent of voting control in the company after the IPO, according to the filing.

Singtel

Singtel is skirting closer to a downgrade trigger on its long-term credit rating of "A+", Standard and Poor's (S&P) said in a note yesterday - the second such warning from a ratings agency in a week.

Mainboard-listed Singtel's planned investment in the rights issue at debt-hit associate Bharti Airtel, which is expected to add to net debt, "will not materially affect base-case projections", according to S&P Global Ratings, which also reiterated the "A+" rating and its outlook of "stable" for Singtel.

But the S&P note also warned that Singtel's operating performance has been "slightly weaker than we expected", thinning the financial headroom needed for the telco to maintain its rating.

S&P's concerns came on the back of the performance of Singtel's operations in Singapore and Australia.

The Bharti Airtel investment - which will see Singtel fork out 37.5 billion rupees (S$726.2 million) for 170 million new shares in the Indian telco - was within expectations, said S&P analysts.

Singtel is Bharti Airtel's biggest shareholder.

Moody's had lowered its outlook on Singtel from "stable" to "negative" on March 5, while also noting the company's "weak credit metrics for the 'A1' rating level, with limited potential for near-term improvement in the company's underlying profitability".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 13, 2019, with the headline 'Company Briefs'. Print Edition | Subscribe