Citigate Dewe Rogerson
CDR was appointed by FDJ, the historical and unique lottery operator in France, as its communications adviser for its privatisation and IPO on Euronext Paris in November 2019.
The PACTE legislation promulgated in May 2019 paved the way for the privatisation of FDJ, which then remained 72% owned by the French State. The French Government chose an IPO to sell a 52% stake to institutional investors as well as the general public to revitalise retail ownership of domestic equities. Despite enjoying a very strong brand notoriety amongst French consumers, FDJ’s business model and its vast contribution to public finances through levies remained largely unknown.
We started groundwork over a year before the IPO to prepare for complex political, regulatory and fiscal considerations. We designed and coordinated a complete corporate and financial communications programme concomitant to the PACTE legislative process. This started with a vast corporate communications campaign aimed at de-risking the privatisation process by providing a better understanding of FDJ’s business model and highlighting its impeccable corporate social responsibility (CSR) credentials. To maximise demand from retail investors during the IPO marketing phase, we also devised a retail roadshow in Paris, Lyon, Lille, Strasbourg and Nantes which attracted strong press coverage nationwide.
The IPO was a success, priced at the top end of the €16.50–€19.90 range. The order book was many times oversubscribed and c. 500,000 retail investors became shareholders, hence one of the largest retail holder bases among French issuers today. Gross proceeds from the privatisation of FDJ amounted to €1.9bn. On 21 November 2019, FDJ started trading at €23.00 on Euronext Paris.
CDR acted for Huatai Securities, one of the leading brokerages and wealth management firms in China in its GDR Offering on the London Stock Exchange in June 2019.
Huatai Securities was largely unknown in Europe and the Shanghai-London Stock Connect was a new and unfamiliar market segment. The Stock Connect programme had been in development for several years and a previous attempt by Huatai to list on the market in December 2018 had to be postponed while technical issues were resolved.
A fully coordinated communications programme by CDR’s Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and London offices engaged with media globally. A key element for UK media was and educating them about the company’s business and strategy, through briefings by CDR. Huatai’s Chairman was used selectively, providing interviews for a targeted range of key media.
The communications programme generated extensive coverage across Chinese and UK media. The Offer raised $1.54 billion, the largest international capital raising by a Chinese company so far in 2019 and the largest GDR Offering since 2012. Huatai’s Chairman was widely quoted across top-tier media, including the Financial Times and appeared on CNBC.
Royal Mail IPO
We were appointed HM Government’s sole communications adviser for its transformation, privatisation, IPO and listing of Royal Mail PLC on the London Stock Exchange, 2011 - 2013.
To turn around the difficult history, backdrop and perception of poor operational and financial performance, strained industrial relations, public antipathy and early investor and media scepticism to build support for the Royal Mail sale rationale, investment case and equity story, helping secure a successful IPO and value for taxpayers.
We devised a co-ordinated, market research-based, Government-led strategy across financial PR, media relations and advertising, starting 8 months pre-IPO. This built belief in the case for and inevitability of the privatisation; demonstrated its progress against each, well-flagged milestone; highlighted the business transformation; communicated growing investor endorsement of the IPO equity story; and helped maximise retail and institutional demand in the IPO period.
We helped achieve a radical shift in public, media and investor opinion of Royal Mail from a structurally loss-making entity to attractive growth and returns story, contributing to a successful IPO that delivered c£2bn in proceeds from institutions and a retail offer six times oversubscribed by the public.
CDR acted for Aurobindo Pharma, a generics drugs manufacturer that is listed and headquartered in India, over allegations that its manufacturing processes contributed to the rise in antimicrobial resistance (AMR)
Aurobindo Pharma, which manufactures its drugs in Hyderabad, was the subject of a TV programme in the Netherlands that alleged that it contributed to pollution which was adding to the global crisis in AMR. Aurobindo decided to take the broadcaster to the press complaints body and hired CDR in the UK and the Netherlands to handle that and also provide media support globally around the issue.
A fully coordinated defensive communications plan by CDR’s London and Amsterdam offices, working with Aurobindo’s legal team, engaged with media globally. A central element of the plan was to educate media about manufacturing processes and the regulators accreditation of Aurobindo’s Indian plants.
Aurobindo’s link to AMR issues were kept to a minimum in media including in leading French, Dutch and North American publications and outlets.
CDR was appointed by Liberty Global, the world’s largest international TV and broadband company, to provide financial media relations consultancy and support around the USD22 billion sale of four of Liberty Global’s European operations to Vodafone in May 2018.
To support Liberty Global in securing UK and international media recognition of the strategic rationale of the sale, of the appropriate valuation of the four businesses being sold, of the shareholder value generated by the sale, and of the benefits of the transaction for customers.
We worked closely with the Liberty Global teams in the UK, Amsterdam and Denver to devise and then implement the optimum media strategy for the sale announcement, as well as on media handling, messaging and materials around the transaction.
Liberty Global was positioned appropriately in the context of the sale and the Company’s ‘voice’ was heard widely (and at the highest level) in the resulting media coverage.