Nik Zafri says :
I like the following article...very honest and very transparent analysis...
Although the article may be the thing of the past (so it seems) but I wish all bankers, investors, newly listed companies, speculators and analysts, economists etc. etc. to read the following article...
Be alert for some strong words but back up with solid facts.
We may take certain reminders so that we shouldn't be over excited of the current market performance but in fact, start working harder to continually improve them (stop sitting in the comfortable zone (not yet)
Also my reminder to all, stop playing the old record by saying that the high quantity of listing/IPOs indicates that the economy is going to be fine...it's the quality that we're talking here NOT quantity.
I think 'designation' of certain stocks by authorities should come in handy - perhaps the right time....but designating stocks should be packaged with clear regulations
Recession-struck Asia to face IPO shortage in 2009
Depressed equity prices, a spreading global recession and increasing risk-aversion among investors are likely to kill the motivation for Asia Pacific companies to be audacious enough to launch IPOs in 2009. The IPO pipeline, which had dried towards the end of 2008, will probably completely shut in the first half of 2009 and the most optimistic are now only hoping that stability will return to stock prices and that a few listings will follow in the second half of the year.
There have been several jumbo IPOs in the Asia Pacific over the past few years through to the first half of 2008. The drivers of this supply were Indian and Chinese companies taking advantage of continued economic growth and investor enthusiasm for exposure in the rising fortunes of the developing world.
This gung-ho mentality was sadly short-lived as these companies’ post-listing performances were disastrous, inflation touched new highs with the advent of recession and the financial sector collapsed under the weight of sub-prime problems.
The pain was particularly felt in the second half of 2008 and IPOs were postponed or completely culled as stock prices and indices plummeted and the probability of raising new money through issuing shares at reasonable valuations completely bit the dust.
A continuation of this surrender to the gloom in global markets is likely to ensure that companies keen on deleveraging will focus on raising equity via secondary placements or private stake sales rather than venture out with IPOs, said bankers.
The outlook for IPOs at least for the first half of 2009 is bleak,” said Simon Cox, head of syndicate at UBS Australia. “Most investors who have cash see enough opportunities in secondary markets every day and are not willing to be tempted to take risk in unknown companies by participating in an IPO unless they are priced very attractively. As a result, companies hardly have any motive to sell into this kind of environment which will kill supply in 2009.”
Signs of a prolonged slowdown in IPO activity are already evident. The Chinese IPO market, the region’s busiest for several years, had a slow start in 2009. The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) has still kept the domestic A-share market shut and only two tiny companies have listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange – the HK$250m (US$32.2m) IPO of mainland oil, petroleum and petrochemical trader Strong Petrochemical and the HK$63m float of China Singyes Solar Technologies.
There is one deal, though, that holds the hopes of all the companies looking to raise new equity. Chinese gold miner Real Gold Mining is braving the market with a US$150m deal and, though the defensive nature of gold could spur some demand, not many are willing to bet on the deal’s success.
Even if it is a success, bankers expect the Chinese IPO market to remain quiet in the first half and to show signs of recovery at best in the second half because of uncertainty about the direction of the global economy. “By that time (mid-year), people should be able to get a more solid view on the global economy and the mere hope of recovery could push up the stock markets and invigorate the IPO market,” said a banker.
When that happens, the infrastructure sector and companies in the retail business segment could be favoured as likely anti-recessionary candidates. “Investors remain picky and they would be only willing to put their money in India or China’s infrastructure and retail which are still considered growth sectors given possibilities demands of their huge populations will continue,” said another banker.
The Chinese government is set to invest Rmb4trn (US$584.4bn) in the country’s infrastructure sector in the next few years and is determined to maintain an 8% GDP growth by supporting domestic demand. India has similar plans to augment its infrastructure and support GDP growth.
The deals that may hit the market, however, would be modestly sized and the super jumbos are likely to be few and far between.
The only known candidate for a jumbo IPO is Agricultural Bank of China, which has plans for a US$20bn–$30bn A/H IPO in 2010. In October last year, Agricultural Bank of China received a US$19bn cash injection from the Chinese government to remove bad debts from its balance sheet and strengthen its capital base before going public. The bank transformed itself into a shareholding company in mid-January and is said to be looking at a Hong Kong and Shanghai IPO.
The Indian market is expected to remain somnolent during the first half as India gears up for its 2009 general elections. The elections are expected in May 2009. Prior to that, the Indian government is unlikely to push forward with any of its privatisations.
What little activity there is now is focused on CB buybacks with Reliance Communications and Jubilant Organosys among those quietly buying back CBs.
“In the Indian context, the market is bound to be turbulent pre-elections. It’s going to be difficult to do any deals. Post elections around June or July, hopefully, the markets will stabilise a bit and we could start seeing companies desperate to raise cash tapping the market in the fourth quarter,” said one Indian ECM banker.
And that is likely to be the trend in the rest of the region. Within South-East Asia, ECM activity will be driven primarily by recapitalisations, particularly within the FIG and real estate sectors, largely through rights issues. South-East Asian issuers tend to be family or major shareholder dominated, and rights issues backed by promoters will continue to be the prevailing trend.
“We are waiting for more rights issues out of Singapore. People are looking at issuers like CapitaLand, CapitaCommercial Trust and CapitaMall Trust to tap the market and we expect more fundraising within the REIT space. Our visibility for IPOs in SEA is minimal, so I definitely think it will be secondary fund raising and recapitalisations,” said another banker.
Although the past few months have been desolate for ECM bankers, there could be a pick-up in equity issuance towards the second half of 2009 as issuers find themselves faced with no funding alternatives.
“The IPO market is dead…The rescue rights or rescue placements in Europe will probably follow through to Asia, but Asian issuers have to swallow their pride first and take the decision to issue equity. If debt markets remain closed, they will have no choice, at some point the penny will drop,” said one Hong Kong-based Southeast Asian banker.
In Korea, the healthy IPO pipeline has imploded with first life insurers and then construction firms falling off the map. A market plunge, where the Kospi drifted below 1,000 for the first time in three years, and a subsequent liquidity squeeze has set a bleak tone for 2009 and bankers are struggling to find candidates to come to the market.
If markets were to improve, bankers think it will be the life insurers that will return first with Tongyang Life Insurance regarded as the most likely candidate. Tongyang Life came close to listing last summer but was forced to pull the deal at the last moment and has since renewed its listing filing twice with the latest deadline extended to August.
Bankers are not confident that Tongyang Life can meet that timetable but they suggested that if the deal could get done this year then other life insurers like Kumho Life and Mirae Asset Life would follow.
Also on bankers’ radars are a string of deals from Hyundai-related companies with Hyundai Motor rumoured to be considering spinning off Hyundai Card and Hyundai Capital while Hyundai Group considers a listing of Hyundai Logistics and Hyundai Home Shopping.
Bankers said that although the Hyundai deals inflated their pipeline, the execution of such deals would depend on whether the Hyundai Group was willing to use its cash piles to support the businesses and avoid a listing.
“The problem with a lot of the listing candidates is that they are backed by Korea’s industry giants and conglomerates. There is no real urgency to get these firms to the market,” one banker noted.
That argument can probably be best applied to the listing plans of Korea’s construction firms, including Posco Engineering and Construction and Lotte Engineering and Construction and Hyundai Engineering and Construction, which were all expected to list in 2008/2009 but have recently reversed those plans. Bankers blamed the cancellation of their listing plans on a strategic decision to lean more heavily on their chaebol relationships than the public markets.
And in Australia it will be difficult to see any IPOs being done in 2009, especially after the few that got done in 2008 were disastrous for investors. BrisConnections which did a huge IPO in 2008 saw its partially paid A$1 shares falling to a record low of A$0.001 post-listing. IvanHoe Mines also did one that was the year’s second largest IPO but are trading way below their issue price.
Against that background, reviving investor confidence for IPOs will be difficult.
“There could be opportunities of IPOs by diversified companies demerging to realise value in specific units or even venture capital/private equity selling off stakes but those deals in this depressed environment will have to be priced relatively cheap. . .we are not recommending our clients to go ahead and do IPOs in this environment,” said one banker.
Shankar Ramakrishnan, Fiona Lau, Denise Wee, Govinda Finn