Updated from June 11.A slow IPO market has served the few companies to have gone public this year very well. FormFactor ( FORM), a manufacturer of semiconductor-testing equipment, is the latest to join the party. FormFactor shares were recently up $4.20, or 30%, at $18.25 on their debut of trading. The 6 million share offering priced late Wednesday at $14 a share, $1 above the top end of the final price-talk range. It is the first IPO to price above range since the Chicago Mercantile Exchange ( CME) last December, according to Thomson First Call. Since the beginning of the year, only seven new issues have come to market. With one exception, each stock is trading above its debut price, in concurrence with gains in the broader market. "The improvement in these stocks' performance is an indication that the investor is starting to embrace the value that is in these companies," said David Menlow, president of IPOFinancial.com. FormFactor's first-day run, while impressive, falls well behind average debut gains of 67% in 1999, when 526 companies went public. For its part, FormFactor is the first domestic technology hardware offering of 2003, and the most recent since Seagate Technology's ( STX) disappointing debut late last year. On their initial day of trading, shares of Seagate Technology fell below their opening price. Some felt that the offering of 72.5 million shares, underwritten by Morgan Stanley, was too large for the market. Morgan Stanley is also lead manager on the much smaller FormFactor IPO. "Morgan Stanley has some ground to make up," said Menlow, who is optimistic about the FormFactor deal. "They have to prove to Wall Street that they can still put together the right offering." There have been other IPO complications this year. DigitalNet, an IT services provider, withdrew its offering in May, blaming market conditions. The news followed a difficult quarter for the company. Salomon Smith Barney would have served as lead underwriter on that deal.
|Slow Year So Far for IPOs |
Except for Bancshares of Florida, each is trading above its debut price
|Company||IPO Debut||Offering |
|June 11 Close||Percent Change|
|Bancshares of Florida (BOFL)||Feb. 10, 2003||$10||$9.70||-3%|
|Infinity Property & Casualty (IPCC)||Feb. 11, 2003||16||21.29||+33|
|Accredited Home Lenders (LEND)||Feb. 13, 2003||8||22.30||+179|
|Endurance Specialty Holdings (ENH)||Feb. 27, 2003||23||29.44||+28|
|Telkom SA (TKG)||March 3, 2003||13.98||16.50||+18|
|iPayment (IPMT)||May 12, 2003||16||22.45||+40|
|Redline Performance Products (RED)||May 15, 2003||4.50||4.56||+1|
Credit-card processor iPayment ( IPMT) delayed its offering in May, following revelations that an analyst at Bear Stearns, the underwriter, promoted the company in a Webcast. Despite the conflict-of-interest question, iPayment is up 40% since its debut.