Metals Trader Inprom Will Pick IPO or Investor Soon

Inprom, the country's third-largest metals services company, will either start an initial public offering next month or sell part of the company to a European investor, owner and chief executive officer Igor Konovalov said Friday.

The company, based in Taganrog, in the Rostov region, will decide within two weeks which course to pursue after receiving three offers from "major European" steelmakers and steel distributing companies since January, Konovalov said in an interview. Inprom said in June that it needed to raise about $90 million to expand its network in Russia.

"We cannot wait any more as we need funds to develop our activities in Russia and decrease leverage," Konovalov said.

Inprom, potentially the first Russian steel servicing company to sell shares, last year twice postponed plans for the IPO, which is being managed by Raiffeisen Centrobank and Trust Investment Bank. The company wants to double investment through 2014 to 9 billion rubles ($380 million) to meet a boom in domestic construction.

Russia surpassed Italy last year, to become Europe's second-largest market in terms of steel-product sales after Germany. Ten years of economic growth means Russia needs to spend close to $1 trillion on new roads, rail, and power infrastructure within a decade, according to government plans.

Inprom revenue grew 37 percent last year to 16.5 billion rubles, Konovalov said, just short of the forecast of 16.8 billion rubles he made in April last year.