Turn up the grill: Weber off to a hot start in market debut

Shares of Weber are smoking in their market debut Thursday as the grilling company gets off to a hot start with investors.

The stock is up more than 19% in midday trading, after opening at $17.

Weber Inc. sold approximately 17.9 million shares at $14 per share before its stock started trading. This was below what the Palatine, Illinois-based company and selling shareholders had been looking for, as they had wanted to sell nearly 47 million shares between $15 and $17 a share.

The company plans to use proceeds to pay down debt and for general corporate purposes.

The underwriters have a 30-day option to buy up to an additional 2.7 million shares.

Weber began in 1952 when George Stephen created a kettle grill following a disastrous experience attempting to cook steaks on a brick fireplace barbecue. Stephen had been working at Weber Brothers Metal Works at the time, welding half spheres together to make buoys. He decided to use one of the half spheres, put legs on it, punch holes in the bottom for air flow and put a lid on top. This is how the kettle grill was born, according to Weber’s website. It has since gone on to create various types of grills and grilling accessories.

The shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the “WEBR” ticker symbol.