Breakingviews

Bank IPOs expose dark arts of Chinese finance

March 17, 2016

The country’s mid-sized lenders have become skilled at repackaging loans to look like less risky investments. Two Hong Kong share offerings underscore how such wizardry has fuelled growth. The practice makes China’s financial system even more interconnected – and more vulnerable.

Cox: Argentina, Aramco are deals for tricky times

By Rob Cox
January 26, 2016

Two big transactions dominated Davos. One would open up a democracy to capital markets after years of feckless governance and isolation. The other is designed to help a repressive regime retain power. In the world’s current parlous state, it’s to be hoped that both get done.

Saudi Aramco IPO could herald a Riyadh garage sale

January 12, 2016

The IPO of a strategic stake in Saudi Aramco could be the start of a kingdom-wide selloff of state assets. The government owns stakes in locally listed firms worth $170 billion. By spinning these off to compensate for lower oil revenue, it could fund years of budget deficits.

Saudi Aramco IPO carries big investor risks

January 8, 2016

Saudi Arabia has whetted the appetite of potential shareholders with the prospect of listing shares in its state oil company. A sale would give investors access to 18 pct of the world’s oil reserves but little say in how the company is run. The risks could outweigh the rewards.

Hong Kong’s IPO prowess is weaker than it looks

December 4, 2015

Despite China’s boom and bust, the bourse has hosted $30 bln of floats this year - more than any other exchange. That should ease angst about HK’s future as a capital market. But quality is a problem – post-IPO performance is patchy and “cornerstone” backers play too big a role.

Public investors lasso Square to tame the unicorns

November 19, 2015

Jack Dorsey’s payments firm has priced below its indicated range and at less than half the value of its last funding round. A two-timing CEO, rising competition and losses provided ammunition for old-school mutual fund managers demanding big discounts to lofty private valuations.

Biotech firm’s stock buyback emits bad bouquet

November 12, 2015

NantKwest wants to snap up a large chunk of stock at a big discount to its July IPO. Yet the biotech controlled by Patrick Soon-Shiong needs the money as it’s likely to burn cash for years. A buyback would, though, prop up the price ahead of an expiring lockup for executives.

Amundi’s so-so listing sums up Europe’s IPO market

November 12, 2015

Shares in the Credit Agricole-owned asset manager opened just above the issue price, at the lower end of its original range. Anything less would have been a failure for the 15 banks on the deal. The valuation reflects concerns about the business – and new stocks in general.

ABN Amro IPO merits discount for ugly structure

November 10, 2015

The Dutch state is hawking up to 23 pct of its erstwhile problem child, valuing the bank at up to 18.8 bln euros. The price range seems attractive relative to listed peers. But a markdown is warranted given an anti-takeover provision that could rescind investors’ voting rights.

Japan Post’s red-letter day delivers a value gap

November 4, 2015

Shares in the Japanese postal operator and its finance arms soared on their stock-market debuts. Low valuations, high yields and familiarity helped the $12 bln triple IPO to fly. Yet the share moves also reveal just how lukewarm investors are about the core postal business.