By Oliver Hirt and Arno Schuetze
ZURICH/FRANKFURT, April 12 (Reuters) - Selecta, Europe's leading vending machine operator, is planning an initial public offering (IPO) on the Swiss stock exchange within months, people close to the matter said.
The company has scheduled meetings with analysts this month and could list in May, one of the people said, adding that the deal could slip to September if market conditions are deemed unfavourable.
Analysts are usually asked to write research reports, including a view on valuation, several weeks ahead of the publication of an intention to list.
Selecta's private equity owner KKR, adviser Lazard and Credit Suisse - the global coordinator for the deal - declined to comment. Selecta did not immediately comment.
Shares worth about 1 billion Swiss francs ($1 billion) could be sold as part of the offer, valuing Selecta at about 3 billion francs, another source said.
Serving more than 10 million customers a day, Selecta operates self-service coffee and convenience food dispensers, more than half of which are located at private businesses, with the rest in places such as train stations and hospitals.
In its most recent full financial year the company reported a 5.7 percent increase in core profit to 248 million euros ($280 million) on sales of 1.5 billion euros. In the first quarter, core earnings rose 7.6 percent to 64 million euros on sales of 404 million euros.
KKR bought its majority stake in then ailing Selecta from Allianz Capital Partners (ACP) in 2015 for a small purchase price, sources familiar with the matter said at the time.
Founded in 1957, Selecta was owned by Swiss trading and logistics group Valora, which listed Selecta on the in 1997 before it was taken over by Compass Group in 2001.
Under KKR's ownership Selecta has cut costs and expanded, acquiring peers such as Pelican Rouge and Gruppo Argenta.
Any IPO would follow on the heels of Zurich listings like Medacta and Stadler Rail. ($1 = 1.0007 Swiss francs) ($1 = 0.8846 euros)
(Reporting by Arno Schuetze Editing by Mike Harrison)