Ex-Commerzbank CEO’s Fintech SPAC Falls in Amsterdam Debut

A special-purpose acquisition company backed by Martin Blessing, a former chief executive officer of Commerzbank AG, fell as much as 1.5% after raising 415 million euros ($489 million) in the biggest such listing in Europe since a global blank-check boom took off last year.

EFIC1 traded at 9.87 euros as of 11:08 a.m. in Amsterdam, down from the issue price of 10 euros per unit. Each unit consists of one share and one third of a warrant that can be exercised at 11.50 euros each and that will trade separately.

EFIC1 sold 41.5 million units in the offering, assuming an over-allotment option is fully exercised, the company said on Thursday. It plans to target investments in financial services and technology businesses.

The sale helps solidify Amsterdam as the premier destination for SPACs in Europe. The Dutch city has hosted three of the five blank-check listings in the region over the past year. Such deals have boomed in the U.S., meanwhile, putting the global initial public offering market on track for its best-ever first quarter.

Yet, the U.S. frenzy has started to cool as the IPOX SPAC Index, which tracks blank-check companies, dropped 11% this month. Adding to the woes, Wall Street’s biggest banks are expecting the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to step up its oversight of the market.

“The timing of the listing wasn’t optimal from a SPAC market perspective because the market in the U.S. came under pressure this week, but the underlying investment case with this management team and sector focus remains very compelling,” said Stephane Gruffat, Credit Suisse Group AG’s head of syndicate for equity capital markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

This SPAC offers a “very unique and interesting proposition” and investors reacted positively during the deal’s pre-marketing, he said, adding that there was “significant demand.” “There is some volatility in the market at the moment, which has been compounded by the recent surge in volumes.”

Amsterdam Boom

Europe has only seen a smattering of listings so far, though many local exchanges are ramping up efforts to cash in on the SPAC boom. Venues from Nasdaq Nordic to the London Stock Exchange Group Plc are re-writing their rules -- or at least looking into it -- to ease the path to market for U.S.-style SPACs.

“After the SPAC bubble in the U.S., supply-demand is a bit out of sync,” said Corne van Zeijl, a strategist at Dutch investment company Actiam, adding that demand for these cash shells tends to be a bit more muted in Europe.

With EFIC1’s listing, Amsterdam is now on track for its best-ever first quarter with $5.5 billion of proceeds, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Particularly since dislodging London as the continent’s top place to buy and sell shares, the Dutch city has emerged as a strong contender as the venue of choice for new listings.

HTP Investments, which is co-owned by financial investors Klaas Meertens and Wim de Pundert, took up more than 45 million euros of EFIC1’s offering. Meertens also will serve on the board of directors for the company, which is formally named European Fintech IPO Company 1 BV.

Other financial industry executives in the vehicle include Ben Davey, the former head of financial institutions in Europe at Barclays Plc, and Nick Aperghis, founder and managing partner of advisory firm Aperghis & Co. Chris Figee, chief financial officer of Dutch phone company Royal KPN NV, will be on the board.

Credit Suisse Group AG is the lead adviser on the transaction. ABN Amro Bank NV, in cooperation with Oddo BHF, is the joint bookrunner.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.