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German caravan maker to list as camping booms in pandemic

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MUNICH, Sept 1 (Reuters) - German caravan maker Knaus Tabbert said on Tuesday it will list on the Frankfurt stock exchange to speed up expansion of production as the popularity of camping during the coronavirus pandemic.

Reuters reported last week that the company was set to announce an initial public offering (IPO) with a targeted market value of 800 million euros ($959 million), according to financial sources.

Investment firm HTP, which rescued the firm from insolvency in 2009, will part with about half of its shares, worth about 400 million euros, the sources said, while Knaus Tabbert wants to raise about 20 million euros to help build a new factory.

"We have been producing at the limits of our capacity in recent years, and all signs point to further growth," said Knaus Tabbert boss Wolfgang Speck.

Europe's third biggest producer of caravans after France's Trigano and Thor Industries' Erwin Hymer, Knaus Tabbert had sales of 780 million euros in 2019, when 3,000 staff produced more than 26,000 caravans and mobile homes.

Registration for recreational vehicles jumped more than a quarter in Europe from May to July, while the proportion of Europeans who spent their holiday at a campsite rose by around 20%, according to a recent survey conducted by Erwin Hymer.

In 2018, Knaus Tabbert had shelved plans for an IPO due to volatile markets.

($1 = 0.8346 euros) (Reporting by Joern Poltz and Hans Seidenstücker, writing by Emma Thomasson, editing by Louise Heavens)