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A truck from Canadian waste management company GFL Environmental Inc makes its rounds through a Toronto neighbourhood, in a Nov. 5, 2019, file photo.

CARLOS OSORIO/Reuters

GFL Environmental Inc. has priced shares in its initial public offering below its target range after last week’s meltdown in global financial markets, but it is still one of Canada’s largest equity financings at a total of $2.95-billion.

GFL, North America’s fourth-largest diversified waste management business, is pressing ahead with the float of its shares after a week when the S&P 500 index lost nearly 12 per cent owing to fears over a global economic slump caused by the impact of the novel coronavirus. The index rebounded 4.6 per cent on Monday.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index, meanwhile, fell 9 per cent last week, before rallying nearly 2 per cent on Monday.

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“I’m thrilled that in the face of very challenging market conditions over the last week, we were able to successfully market and price one of the largest IPOs in TSX history,” said Patrick Dovigi, GFL’s founder and chief executive officer.

“Raising approximately $2.95-billion in this market is a testament to the continuing belief of our investors in the GFL story, as well as the day-to-day hard work and dedication of our employees.”

The company pulled a deal to go public in November after investors questioned its heavy debt load. Since then, it has raised $1.4-billion from its private investors, which was used to acquire a U.S. company and to bolster its balance sheet, partly by paying down debt.

Prior to the attempt in November, GFL halted an IPO attempt in 2018, which was aimed at raising US$2.4-billion.

GFL said it will sell the shares at US$19 apiece, down from the range it had set last week of US$20 to U$21. The price puts proceeds from the subordinate voting shares on offer at US$1.4-billion, before any overallotments for underwriters.

The company is also selling 14 million tangible equity units – a combination equity and debt instrument – for proceeds of $775-million. The units include a prepaid stock purchase contract and a senior amortizing note, which is a liability that will be gradually reduced.

The current record for IPOs is held by Manulife Financial, which raised US$1.7-billion in 1999. GFL’s sale of subordinate shares would not reach that, but total proceeds surpass that mark when the tangible equity units are factored in.

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Much of the proceeds will be used to reduce debt, and some may also be used to pay for future takeovers, the company has said. Mr. Dovigi has completed more than 100 since 2007.

GFL, known for its lime-green collection trucks, serves four million households under more than 650 municipal-collection contracts in Canada and the United States, and more than 135,000 commercial and industrial customers. It has more than 11,500 employees.

After the IPO, the company’s current owners, including Mr. Dovigi, BC Partners Advisors LP, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and GIC, the Singapore sovereign wealth fund, will own the majority of the shares and have the most voting power.

Underwriters are led by JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of Montreal, Goldman Sachs & Co., Royal Bank of Canada and Bank of Nova Scotia.

The stock will be listed in Toronto and New York under the symbol GFL.

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