Kraft Foods' Debut to Dominate IPO Market

Reuters

The mega-offering of Philip Morris' Kraft Foods Inc. unit this week will dominate a market for initial public offerings that is showing signs of life after a moribund start of the year.

The Kraft IPO, the second-largest ever, is expected to raise as much as $8.4 billion, with 280 million shares offered for trade on the New York Stock Exchange at $27 to $30 each.

Philip Morris plans to use proceeds from the sale of the 16% stake in Kraft to pay off debt.

The Kraft offering comes at a time of improving prospects for IPOs, particularly those in favored sectors like energy and health care as well as those consumer companies with solid revenues and profits.

Kraft, with 2000 revenues of $26.5 billion and $2 billion in net income, fits the profile for a successful IPO and contrasts sharply to the wave of speculative technology stocks brought to market last year.

In addition to Kraft, stocks expected to debut next week, according to IPO.com, include:

FMC Technologies Inc., a Chicago maker of equipment for gas exploration, which is looking to raise about $221 million by selling 11.05 million shares at $19 to $21 each.

Odyssey Re Holdings Corp., a New York reinsurance underwriter, which is looking to raise $300 million by selling 17 million shares at $16 to $19 each.

General Maritime Corp., a New York oil tanker company, which is selling 7 million shares for $17 to $19 each to raise $126 million.

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