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After best-ever start to a year, $49 billion Asia IPO boom likely to taper off

By Julia Fioretti

As within the U.S., preliminary public providing exercise out of Asia has had its strongest-ever start to a yr. That frenzy for brand spanking new shares is likely to taper off as demand falls again to earth within the subsequent few months.

Asian corporations, like their international friends, notched their greatest first quarter for listings ever, thanks to a flood of liquidity in the course of the pandemic, super-low rates of interest, and rallying inventory markets. The companies raised $49.3 billion via first-time share gross sales at residence and overseas — a 154% leap over the identical interval in 2020, information compiled by Bloomberg present.

IPOs globally raised an unprecedented $215 billion, with nearly half of that haul coming from the document wave of issuance by special-purpose acquisition corporations within the U.S.

Now, a international rotation out of highly-valued tech and health-care shares which have dominated market exercise, in addition to fading pleasure round SPACs within the U.S., is clouding the outlook for brand spanking new offers.

“Inevitably, there is a mark to market of comparable valuations,” mentioned William Smiley, co-head of fairness capital markets at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in Asia ex-Japan. “In terms of our pipeline, there hasn’t been any significant impact from the recent rotation, but opportunistic issuance may have decelerated.”

Asia IPO boomBloomberg

Asia’s IPO house faces an added problem: the travails of Chinese tech companies, which dominate fundraising within the area. These corporations are dealing with a crackdown towards monopolistic practices at residence and are additionally in focus as U.S.-China tensions hold rising. Last month, as an example, the U.S. moved ahead with a legislation that would lead to Chinese companies that don’t adjust to U.S. auditing requirements being kicked off American exchanges.

The pink flags are already there, with the investor mania seen earlier this yr for offers just like the one by Chinese TikTok rival Kuaishou Technology beginning to die down.

Chinese fintech firm Bairong Inc., which raised $507 million, delivered the worst debut in three years amongst $500-million-plus Hong Kong IPOs when it fell 16% on Wednesday. U.S.-listed Chinese search large Baidu Inc. and video-streaming service Bilibili Inc. raised a mixed $5.7 billion via secondary listings in Hong Kong in March however had lackluster debuts.

In distinction, buyers had been seen scrambling for a piece of Kuaishou’s $6.2 billion Hong Kong IPO, the largest itemizing globally to date this yr, and Korean e-commerce large Coupang Inc.’s $4.6 billion float.

Healthy Shakeout

That mentioned, muted investor urge for food for listings isn’t affecting the queue of hopefuls.

Online music firm Tencent Music Entertainment Group, micro-blogging service Weibo Corp. and on-line journey service Group Ltd. are amongst U.S.-traded Chinese corporations in search of so-called “homecoming” listings in Hong Kong. These secondary listings, seen as a hedge towards Sino-American tensions, raised $17 billion in Hong Kong final yr and have amassed $6.4 billion to date in 2021.

“The secondary listing trend will continue but what should be interesting to see is whether new issuers who ultimately want to get to a dual listing, perhaps consider seeking a dual primary listing in Hong Kong and the U.S. from the start rather than doing a primary U.S. listing, waiting two years and then coming to Hong Kong for the secondary listing” mentioned Francesco Lavatelli, head of fairness capital markets for Asia Pacific at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Tech and health-care companies make up the majority of the itemizing pipeline in Asia, say bankers, even with out the “homecoming” cohort, a lot of whom opted for U.S. listings due to the American investor base’s better familiarity with new economic system shares. Among them: health-care startup WeDoctor, which is planning a multi-billion greenback Hong Kong IPO and China’s Uber-like startup Full Truck Alliance, which is trying into a $1 billion U.S. itemizing.

“The pipeline remains quite robust but is centered around tech and growth stocks, which are obviously seeing a little bit of a re-rating,” mentioned Tucker Highfield, co-head of fairness capital markets for Asia Pacific at Bank of America Corp. “The thesis of good companies being able to buck the trend of volatility will continue and there’s capital available.”

Ultimately, much less frothy markets and a cooling of the IPO investor mania may very well be welcome.

“Entering a more balanced market environment isn’t a bad thing. It can extend the issuance cycle and work to keep excesses in check,” Smiley mentioned. “If there is going to be correction, you want it to be fast – a prolonged downturn kills issuance.”

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