Italian railway contractor Salcef plans listing to fund M&A

MILAN, May 21 (Reuters) - Italian rail infrastructure contractor Salcef plans to expand through acquisitions in Italy and abroad, funding the potential M&A deals with money from a planned listing, its CEO said on Tuesday.

The privately-owned group, which had revenue of 320 million euros ($357 million) and core earnings worth 62.6 million euros last year, will list on the small-to-medium-sized companies section of the Milan stock exchange in the autumn.

The listing will be the result of a business combination with special purpose acquisition company Industrial Stars of Italy 3 and is expected to raise some 100 million euros for Salcef, the company said in a press release.

"There is a hot M&A deal we are working on, it could become reality by the end of this year," Salcef CEO Valeriano Salciccia told Reuters on the sidelines of a presentation about the group's listing plans.

"We can spend up to 200 million euros on acquisitions," he said, adding that the group wanted to speed up growth to move to Milan's main stock exchange market next year.

Salciccia said the Salcef would look at companies in the same or similar sectors, including new technologies, electrification and also trucks.

The CEO said the German market, where Salcef acquired Deutsche Bahn's long-standing supplier H&M Bau last year, looked interesting. He said the United States and Australia could also be attractive markets to enter via acquisitions.

The enterprise value for Salcef was estimated at 325 million euros, or 5.2 times the group's core earnings in 2018, according to documents prepared for the listing.

($1 = 0.8970 euros)

(Reporting by Francesca Landini. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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