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Originally published Friday, April 30, 2010 at 6:58 AM

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Americold plans $645M IPO, biggest this year

Warehouse real estate investment trust Americold Realty Trust plans to raise about $645 million in an initial public offering next week.

The Associated Press

NEW YORK —

Warehouse real estate investment trust Americold Realty Trust plans to raise about $645 million in an initial public offering next week.

If successful, it would be the biggest IPO of the year, surpassing Sensata Technologies Holding NV's $568.8 deal in March.

Americold is hoping to sell 43 million shares for $14 to $16 apiece.

The underwriters, led by Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan, may purchase another 6.45 million shares to cover excess demand.

The Atlanta company was founded in 1931 and is now owned by the Yucaipa Cos., a private equity firm.

Americold intends to use proceeds from the offering to acquire operations and 74 warehouses in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and Argentina from Versacold International Corp., a Canadian warehouse company that is an affiliate of Americold's owner, Yucaipa. Americold will also pay financial advisory fees of $30 million and other fees and expenses.

After acquiring Versacold's assets, Americold will have 173 temperature-controlled warehouses in its portfolio. The company says it is the largest owner and operator of such warehouses in the U.S. and the world.

Food producers, distributors and retailers rely on temperature-controlled warehouses to protect the products they sell.

Americold had earned $17.7 million on $1.6 billion in revenue in 2009, including Yucaipa's stake in Versacold. Americold alone lost $42.8 million on revenue of $761 million last year.

Americold plans to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "ACRE."

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