Americold Realty Trust, the Atlanta-based company that plans to build a cold-storage facility on Portland’s western waterfront, has launched an initial public offering with the goal of raising up to $384 million.

Americold is offering 24 million common shares for sale and expects those shares to be priced between $14 and $16 each, according to a company news release issued Tuesday. At that price range, the public offering would generate between $336 million and $384 million, excluding fees.

In 2015, the Maine Port Authority selected Americold, a huge cold-storage company, to construct and operate a freezer warehouse west of the Casco Bay Bridge on the Portland waterfront.

Local port officials and business leaders have said cold storage is critical to economic development and the state’s food and beverage industry. The facility also would help cement the community’s relationship with Eimskip, the Icelandic shipping company with its North American headquarters in Portland.

The choice of Americold triggered a proposal to increase the waterfront zone’s maximum allowable building height to permit the 68-foot-tall building Americold said it needed to make the project economically viable, despite protests by some West End residents who said the change would allow huge buildings that would block views of the Fore River along Commercial Street, a gateway into the city.

The zoning changes that were eventually developed went further, creating a framework that will allow the city to pursue other large-scale waterfront development opportunities in the future. In September, the Portland City Council approved the changes.

City spokeswoman Jessica Grondin said Tuesday that Americold is still doing site inspection work related to the Portland cold-storage project. While the company now has the green light to built as high as 75 feet, Americold has not yet applied for site plan approval from the city.

Americold owns and operates roughly 160 temperature-controlled warehouses, with about 1 billion total cubic feet of storage, in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Argentina, according to the company.

Americold said its facilities help connect food producers, processors, distributors and retailers to consumers. The company has over 2,600 customers and employs roughly 11,000 workers worldwide.

As part of the IPO, the company said it expects to grant the offering’s underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 3.6 million common shares. The shares have been approved for listing on the New York Stock Exchange, it said, and will trade under the symbol COLD.

BofA Merrill Lynch, J.P. Morgan and RBC Capital Markets are acting as the joint book-running managers for the offering, according to the release. Rabo Securities, Baird, Citizens Capital Markets, Raymond James, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, BB&T Capital Markets and BTIG are acting as the co-managers for the offering, it said.

 

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