Chart Industries IPO: 'No Proceeds For Business Investment'

Jul.31.06 | About: Chart Industries, (GTLS)

From the Final Prospectus of Chart Industries (NASDAQ:GTLS):

Because most of the proceeds from this offering will be used to pay a dividend to our current stockholders, only a portion of the proceeds will be used to repay our existing debt and none of such proceeds will be used to further invest in our business.

The net proceeds from the sale by us of the shares of common stock being offered hereby, after deducting underwriting discounts, will be approximately $175.3 million. We intend to use approximately $25.0 million of the net proceeds to repay certain indebtedness. We intend to use the remaining net proceeds of approximately $150.3 million to pay a dividend to our stockholders existing immediately prior to this offering. This leaves no proceeds to further invest in and grow our business. See "Use of Proceeds."

Chart Industries is global manufacturer of highly engineered equipment used in the production, storage and end-use of liquefied gasses. The need for Chart Industries' cryogenic gas handling equipment is expanding as demand for liquefied natural gas grows.

And yet the July 25th 2006 public offering of 12.5 million shares was coolly received. The 12.5 million shares, representing 49 percent stake in the company, sold for $15 a share: well below the $19 to $21 forecast range.

This is yet another instance of a meaningless IPO, other than the repayment of $25 million in debt, the total capitalization of Chart Industries is completely unchanged. Given all the glowing discussion of competitive strengths and business strategy, it would seem that fresh capital from public investors could be put better use than paying a special dividend.

Private equity sponsor First Reserve did OK on the deal. Actually they did better than OK. First Reserve bought Chart Industries on August 2, 2005, paying $117.7 million in cash equity and $350 million in debt. Less than one year later First Reserve collected a $142.1 million cash dividend from the IPO. The cash IRR is well over %20, and that doesn't include the residual value of the 13,088,043 shares, whose lock up will expire in 180-days.