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Explained: What investors should look out for before putting money in an IPO

With foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) making a strong comeback — the benchmark Sensex has reclaimed the 60,000 mark — merchant bankers have lined up public issues to take advantage of bullish domestic retail and FPI investor sentiments.

The 18 per cent rally in the benchmark indices at the BSE and NSE since June 17, coming on the back of sharp FPI flows and a revival in investor sentiment, have encouraged merchant bankers to line up issues. (Express Photo: Ganesh Shirsekar)

The sharp revival in equity markets has catalysed the primary markets, and as many as 27 companies have filed offer documents with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) over the last couple of months.

With foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) making a strong comeback — the benchmark Sensex has reclaimed the 60,000 mark — merchant bankers have lined up public issues to take advantage of bullish domestic retail and FPI investor sentiments. While there has been no new listing since May 24, the cycle is set to restart with the listing of Syrma SGS Technology later this month. The issue closed for subscription on Thursday. Many more are lined up — Utkarsh Small Finance Bank, Fincare Small Finance Bank, and GO Digit General Insurance have filed their offer documents with SEBI.

How are the IPOs that came during the previous market boom faring?

2021 witnessed a record number of IPOs and fund-raising. While 63 companies came with public issues to raise funds amounting to a record Rs 118,723 crore from the equity markets in the calendar year, only 18 issues have hit the market in 2022. Collectively, they have raised Rs 40,310 crore — and half of this amount has come from just one issue: LIC.

A large number of public issues that hit the market amid soaring valuation in 2021 are now trading below their issue price. Data from NSE show that 27 of the 63 issues that hit the market in 2021 are trading below their issue price, including high-profile ones such as One 97 Communication (Paytm) and Zomato.

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On the other hand, of the 16 issues that hit the market in calendar 2022 when the markets were less buoyant and the indices were on a decline, only four are trading below the issue price.

“We always witness a bunching-up of issues when the secondary market is buoyant. Most issues that come in times of sharp rally in the markets tend to be overpriced, and are susceptible to sharp declines when the market weakens. On the other hand, IPOs that come during normal times fare much better as they tend to be priced reasonably,” a fund manager who did not wish to be named, said.

So should you invest in this IPO rush?

The 18 per cent rally in the benchmark indices at the BSE and NSE since June 17, coming on the back of sharp FPI flows and a revival in investor sentiment, have encouraged merchant bankers to line up issues. For retail investors looking to play in the primary market, however, experts advise caution. They say that retail investors should seek out good-quality stocks from the bouquet of existing listed companies, and pick up the ones that are undervalued and not leveraged.

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Several high-profile new age tech companies that came with their issues in 2021 are trading below their offer price — market participants say investors should be cautious, as there is a lot of irrationality around start-ups when there is liquidity in the market.

“When the market weakens, investor confidence in these companies gets shaken even on minor negative news flows. In the case of most of these companies where profitability is not visible for the next five years, it is very tough for an investor to stay invested when the market weakens, and so one has to be very careful about which company and at what valuation they are investing,” the head of research with financial services firm said.

What should you look for before investing in an IPO?

An IPO is an asset class that is a derivative of the secondary market, and its performance is linked to the sentiment in the broader market. Demand tends to be strong when investor sentiment is buoyant, and in such a scenario they get higher investor interest and fare well. However, that is not true for all cases; it also depends upon the pricing of the issue. Hence, investors need to do a thorough study of the company — the quality of promoters, business fundamentals, and the financial and peer review analysis — before investing in an IPO.

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Corporate governance practices in the company should be given top priority. A good peer review is a must: Investors must study other listed companies in the sector and compare their growth, and their PE ratio (market price to earnings per share). If the company coming with an IPO is demanding a higher valuation, investors can consider avoiding it.

First published on: 19-08-2022 at 03:57:52 am
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