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SEA Sticking To IPO Price Range

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Milan airport operator SEA will not be forced to lower its offer price in its initial public offering despite disagreements between its two biggest shareholders, two people close to the offer said.

The offer ends on Friday. SEA said mid-month that it had set a price range of €3.2 to €4.3 each for the shares, making the total size of the offering EUR€252 million (USD$322.36 million).

SEA hopes to be valued at up to EUR€1.2 billion (USD$1.5 billion) on its stock market debut in Milan on December 6, the company said earlier this month.

"There will be no re-pricing (of the offer)," said a person near the sale. "The road show is moving ahead and on Friday there will be a clear idea of the book. Foreign investors are beginning to wake up and are placing orders."

Another person familiar with the sale also ruled out cutting the price range, adding, however, that much of the buying interest has come in at the lower end of the range.

The initial public offering of up to 23.8 percent in the company will see the Province of Milan sell its stake of 34.1 million shares, and the listing will also include 24.4 million new shares.

A rift between the two biggest shareholders in SEA has cast a shadow over the share sale less than two weeks before it is due to make its stock market debut. At one point during the IPO process, one shareholder accused another of withholding financial information, which prompted Milan's stock regulator to require SEA to add the relevant information to its prospectus even as the offer was being marketed.

A few fund managers were cautious about the IPO's success on Wednesday.

"I think they will be forced to cut the price range," said one.

(Reuters)

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