After 35 years as a private plastics and chemicals company, Huntsman Corp. went public Feb. 11, raising almost $1.5 billion in a stock offering.
Huntsman offered more than 60 million shares of common stock at $23 each and 5 million shares of preferred stock at $50 each. Almost all of the funds raised through the sale will be used to pay down the firm's debt, which stands at about $6 billion.
The common stock closed Feb. 15 at $25.60. Huntsman founder and Chairman Jon Huntsman added more than 4.5 million shares to the offering, generating $103.5 million.
Jon Huntsman donated that amount to the Huntsman Cancer Institute and Huntsman Cancer Hospital, both at the University of Utah, and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Huntsman is a cancer survivor and a Wharton graduate.
The Salt Lake City-based company is a major producer of polyurethane, polypropylene, expanded polystyrene and other specialty chemical products.
A downturn in the chemical industry almost bankrupted the company in 2002 before it sold a 49 percent stake to New York investment firm Matlin Patterson Global Opportunities Partners.
The stock offering amounts to ownership of 30-35 percent of the company, according to Huntsman spokesman Don Olsen.
The remainder will be retained by the Huntsman family and Maitlin Patterson. Olsen added that company officials were ``very pleased with the way the IPO was received,'' particularly since the stock debuted at the top of its estimated pricing range.
Huntsman management will be unaffected by the IPO. Peter Huntsman, Jon's son, will continue to oversee day-to-day operations as president and chief executive officer. Jon Huntsman will continue in his role as chairman.
Unrelated to the IPO, Jon Huntsman Jr. - Jon Huntsman's oldest son - resigned his position as a director of HMP Equity Holdings and from all other positions with affiliated companies Jan. 3 - the same day he was sworn in as governor of Utah.
Huntsman, who had never held public office, was elected to the post in November, winning 57 percent of the popular vote.