Sensata IPO nets $569M as bids stay low

SENSATA HEADQUARTERS in Attleboro. The company sold an 18 percent stake for $18 a share, at the low end of its asking range.
Posted 3/11/10

ATTLEBORO – Sensata Technologies Inc., the former Texas Instruments sensors-and-controls division sold off four years ago, sold $569 million worth of shares in its initial public offering on Wednesday.

Sensata sold 31.6 million shares for $18 each, which was at the low end of its asking range of $18 to $20, according to a Securities & Exchange Commission filing. Sensata’s underwriters did not exercise an option to buy an additional 4.74 million shares.

Sensata sold an 18 percent stake in the company in the IPO, giving it a market value of roughly $3 billion. The firm said it would keep 83 percent of the offering’s proceeds, or roughly $472 million, before fees and expenses, some of which it will use to pay down debt.

Sensata shares, which began trading Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “ST,” advanced 3.1 percent to $18.55 at 10:36 a.m.

Sensata sells sensors and controls under brands such as Airplax and Klixon to customers including Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co.

Founded in 1916, Sensata was part of Texas Instruments from 1959 until April 2006, when it was taken private and renamed in a leveraged buyout led by private-equity firm Bain Capital LLC. (Sensata is Latin for “those gifted with sense.”)

Although Sensata leases a 433,000-square-foot facility in Attleboro as its main headquarters, the company is registered as a Dutch business and its official corporate headquarters is in Almelo, The Netherlands.

In 2009, Sensata narrowed its full-year loss by cutting costs, posting a net loss of $26.99 million, compared with a loss of $134.48 million in 2008. Annual sales fell 20 percent to $1.13 billion. The company has not posted an annual profit since Bain took it over.

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