Are IPO party days over on Indian soil?

Updated on Feb 09, 2008 02:09 AM IST

With Emaar MGF taking back its IPO, it seems stock market gloom has claimed another casualty, report BSS Reddy and Arun Kumar.

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Hindustan Times | ByBS Srinivasalu Reddy and Arun Kumar, Mumbai/new Delhi

The gloom that has descended on stock markets in the wake of a financial turmoil in the US claimed another casualty on Friday: realty giant Emaar MGF withdrew its much-hyped public offer after retail investors gave it a thumbs down.

The Rs 5,436-crore stock offering, which had everything but luck, gained the dubious distinction of being the largest offer ever called off in India. It also marks a new trend — retail investors shunning top-rated offerings.

So, is the initial public offering (IPO) party over?

For now, it appears so. About 28 IPOs, aiming to raise $9 billion (Rs 36,000 crore), have been withdrawn from markets around the world — most of them in the US and Hong Kong, according to merchant bankers.

Emaar MGF's decision came a day after Wockhardt Hospitals put off its IPO for the same reason. Investors shied away even after both companies cut the offer price and extended the deadline for applying.

"The company decided to take this step because of the market sentiment, fuelled by indications of a US recession," Emaar MGF said. The company said it could have gone ahead, but there were concerns that the scrip might not do well if listed now.

Even merchant banking biggies like DSP Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs, which were associated with the issue, could not save it. Subscription fell from 83 per cent on Thursday to 42 per cent on Friday after a couple of foreign institutional investors withdrew.

"Given that stocks are facing a hammering, we were concerned of the price after listing," said Emaar MGF's managing director Shrawan Gupta. Emaar MGF failed despite ratings, because retail investors are wary of the future of the stock market, said Sanjeev Kandelwal, director of PRIME Database, which tracks primary market trends.

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