Eight companies are aiming to raise up to $1.9 billion through initial public offerings by Friday, potentially the biggest week for IPOs so far this year.
Forty companies have raised $6 billion in IPOs this year, according to Renaissance Capital. If all the offerings on tap this week price at the top of their expected ranges, proceeds would equal one quarter of the total amount raised by initial offerings in 2010 so far.
While it's potentially a big week for the market, two small deals, Chinese ad agency Charm Communications Inc., seeking about $78 million, and dental services provider Smile Brands Group Inc., planning on about $126 million, are generating the most buzz. But even that interest is muted following two largely disappointing weeks for the IPO market marked by a number of offerings that priced low and fell on their first day of trading.
"People right now are more inclined to buy in the broader markets than IPOs," said Scott Sweet of IPOBoutique, citing the uncertainty in pricing and first-day trading of recent offerings.
As for this week, "there's nothing out there that is a bright and shining star for the IPO market," said David Menlow, president of IPOfinancial.
Private equity Yucaipa Cos. is bringing the biggest deal, warehouse real estate investment trust Americold Realty Trust, to market. The $645 million IPO would be the largest this year, surpassing Sensata Technologies Holding NV's $568.8 million IPO in March.
REITs have not done very well this year, however, and with Goldman Sachs as the lead underwriter coming off the flop of its last IPO, early April's Metals USA Holdings Inc., investors may give Americold a "chilly reception," Menlow said. Metals USA priced above expectations, but then sank in its first day of trading. Shares are still more than 15 percent off their offering price.
The best of the lot, say analysts who track IPOs, are Charm, a leading TV ad agency in China, and Smile Brands, which provides back-office services and equipment to dental offices, helping lower costs for dentists.
The dental market's expenditures shrank in 2009 for the first time in 55 years as laid-off employees lost their health coverage and consumer spending dropped, said Baird health care analyst Jeffrey Johnson. But patient volumes are slowly rising this year, perhaps 1 to 2 percent, as job rolls grow. The overall dental market could grow 2 to 3 percent this year, he said.
The recent health care overhaul, which gets more twentysomethings onto their parents' insurance, also could help boost dentists' patient load.
Meanwhile, Charm is priced cheaply compared with its competitors, said Francis Gaskins of IPODesktop, and a big exclusive contract that started last year with Tianjin Satellite Television has helped increase revenue in 2009. He is worried about future revenue growth, however, as that contract expires in 2011.
The other companies expected to go public this week include MIE Holdings Corp., Douglas Dynamics Inc., Madison Square Capital Inc. and S&W Seed Co.
Ryerson, a $400 million IPO, is a Chicago-based metals processor. After the disappointment of Metals USA, investors may be wary of another metals processor, IPOfinancial's Menlow said.
MIE Holdings, a Chinese oil company that has longstanding production-sharing contracts with PetroChina Ltd., Asia's biggest oil producer, is looking to raise about $225 million. It could be a hit, analysts say, but it could be pricier than dominant Chinese oil firms like PetroChina and Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Co. Ltd., according to Gaskins.
Douglas Dynamics, a maker of snowplows and snow control products based in Milwaukee, hopes to raise about $150 million. So does Madison Square Capital, a New York real estate investment trust that would buy up government-backed mortgage securities.
S&W Seed Co., an alfalfa seed distributor based in Five Points, Calif., also hopes to raise $15.6 million. Alfalfa hay is used for animal feed.
"They're going to have a tough time selling these things," IPOBoutique's Sweet said, because of the recent volatility in the IPO market. Of the 13 companies that have gone public since the beginning of April, nine are trading below the offering price. "The market is stalling again."
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