Seoul’s financial district Yeouido at night (123rf)
South Korea’s initial public offering market is expected to regain momentum as a number of big players are set to go public next year. But the stock market needs to gain its upward momentum first to revive investor interest, according to investment banking sources and market experts on Nov. 8.
Some mega deals, such as lithium-ion battery maker LG Energy Solution, local builder Hyundai Engineering, and online grocery delivery platforms SSG.com and Market Kurly, are getting ready for listings on the Korea Exchange next year, the sources said.
Market attention is now on LG Energy Solution, a wholly owned subsidiary of LG Chem, which is expected to become the biggest deal in local IPO market history. That is based on the assumption that the company raises around 10 trillion won ($8.44 billion) through the upcoming book building and retail tranche. Its estimated market value is as high as 100 trillion won, they said.
LG Energy Solution’s IPO was delayed this year over recall issues. The company resumed the listing process after LG Electronics and the battery maker reached an agreement to repay General Motors about 1.4 trillion won for the recalls of some 143,000 Bolt electric vehicles over battery fire risks.
Hyundai Engineering, the plant engineering affiliate of Korea’s second-largest conglomerate in market capitalization, submitted its application for a preliminary qualification examination for listing to the Korea Exchange on Sept. 30. While the review process usually takes around 45 working days, the company is likely to receive an approval sometime this month, industry sources said.
Market insiders forecast the company’s valuation after listing could reach between 8 to 10 trillion won. According to over-the-counter information provider 38 Communication, shares of the builder were trading at 112,500 won, as of Monday afternoon, at a market value of some 8.54 trillion won.
The figure far outpaced the market cap of Hyundai Engineering & Construction and Samsung Engineering, which are listed on the nation’s main board, Kospi, and worth around 5.68 trillion won and 4.66 trillion won, respectively, at the closing bell.
SSG.com, the online arm of Korean retail giant Shinsegae Group, and its rival Market Kurly, have selected managers for their IPOs with a goal to make market debuts next year. Meanwhile, the market values of SSG.com and Market Kurly are expected to reach as high as 10 trillion won and 7 trillion won, respectively, after their market debuts.
Market observers said investors have kept a wary eye on the IPO market lately since the performance of the majority of newly listed stocks seems to have come under adjustment, coupled with falling local indexes. While a flurry of mega IPOs is on the horizon to join the stock market here, upward momentum is crucial to attract more investors, they said.
“The enervating local IPO market is partially attributable to an unstable macro environment and rate hike. An improvement in macro environment needs to be involved to revive the overall market,” DB Financial Investment analyst Yoo Kyung-ha said.
Meanwhile, it has been a record year for the domestic stock market as companies succeeding in local listings have fetched nearly 20 trillion-won worth of proceeds in total. In the meantime, multiple deals have fallen short of market expectations amid increased market volatility in the latter half of the year, unlike investors’ strong appetite for IPO shares early on.
By Jie Ye-eun (firstname.lastname@example.org)