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Winn-Dixie Operator Southeastern Grocers Cancels Stock Offering

Tuesday, 19 Aug 2014 04:27 PM

Southeastern Grocers LLC, which operates supermarket chains Winn-Dixie and BI-LO, called off its plans for an initial public offering, joining a list of companies that have pulled their offerings this year.

The Jacksonville, Florida-based company did not specify a reason for withdrawing its IPO in its filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday.

The company had filed for an IPO of up to $500 million in September 2013.

"With not very exciting top-line revenue and growing losses, it's over-leveraged. They don't have the numbers that investors are interested in," said Francis Gaskins, research director at Equities.com.

The company runs more than 650 BI-LO and Winn-Dixie stores in southeastern U.S. states of Florida, Alabama, Louisiana and Georgia.

Winn-Dixie, which was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1952, filed for bankruptcy protection in 2005 and was taken private by the operator of Bi-Lo in 2012.

Several firms, mostly small biotech companies, have withdrawn their IPOs this year. The list includes biotech firms Ambrx Inc., GeNO LLC and Dimerix Bioscience Ltd. and home-building products maker Associated Materials Group Inc.

"The biotech market was hot earlier this year but has moderated. It's not in demand now as it was then and the biotech companies have not hit their milestones which investors are interested in," Gaskins said.

There has been a surge in IPO filings since the Jobs Act went into effect in April 2012. The Act allows companies to pay lower registration fees and disclose less information to investors when they go public but provides a shorter period for complying with regulatory requirements.

Some of the smaller companies find it difficult to complete the requirements in the short period and are forced to withdraw their IPO.

Real estate company Aina Le'a Inc cited the short time frame between the initial filing and the completion of the audit process as a reason for pulling its IPO earlier this month.

"Companies have to file 21 days before the road show and so its a shorter IPO window," said Jay Ritter, a professor and IPO expert at the University of Florida.

Other companies that have withdrawn their IPOs this year include pharmaceuticals firm Aptalis Holdings Inc., Waypoint Homes Realty Trust Inc. and oil pipeline operator Devon Midstream Partners LP.

© 2015 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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