5 Worst IPOs of 2011

NEW YORK ( TheStreet -- The IPO market got off to a strong start in 2011 in terms of deal flow, but the European financial crisis kicked in over the summer and put a stop to the offerings.

According to Renaissance Capital, more than 60% of the 125 deals that debuted went public in the first half of the year as the final six months saw many companies postpone or cancel their offerings.

From a performance standpoint, 2011 was a disappointment with the average IPO down 12% from its pricing level, and only one third of the year's newly public companies trading in positive territory through Thursday's close.

Chinese IPOs especially suffered in 2011 with the whole sector taking a hit as fraud allegations and accounting irregularities at certain companies tainted Wall Street's view of the whole group.

Deal activity from the region slowed this year with only 12 China-based companies debuting with U.S. listings vs. 40 offerings in 2010. Performance was poor as well with the average China-based IPO down 48% in 2011.

In fact, three of the five worst-performing IPOs of 2011 were companies based in China -- China Century Dragon Media ( CCDM.PK), Tibet Pharmaceuticals ( TBET) and Imperial Holdings ( IFT).

Rounding out the five worst performers are FriendFinder ( FFN), which billed itself as a dating site, but most saw as something a bit more smarmy, and Kips Bay Medical ( KIPS), which reported flat year-over-year sales of just $59,000 in the third quarter and suffered a regulatory setback.

China Century Dragon Media -- down 99.98%

China Century Dragon Media ( CCDM)went public in February, selling 1.4 million shares at $5.25 each. That was scaled back from the original plan to offer 1.6 million shares at $7 a share.

The company came to market as a seller of advertising on China Central Television. The original story was that China Century was profitable with revenue of $69 million but that didn't take long to unravel.

A month after the stock's debut, trading was halted, and the company's independent auditor had quit. According to the SEC, "The auditor noted "discrepancies in customer confirmations" and was unable to verify China Century's bank records."

China Century's management couldn't explain the discrepancies and the auditor said the fraud went back as far as 2008. Ten months later, the stock is essentially worthless.

FriendFinder -- down 94.65%

FriendFinder ( FFN) entered the market on the wave of Internet companies going public, selling 5 million shares at $10 each back in May.

Things were rough from the start, however, as the pricing was at the lower end of the anticipated range. The company has suffered as it's been associated more with smut than social media and is a loss maker whose revenue declined year-over-year in the latest quarter.

For the nine months ended Sept. 30, FriendFinder lost $20.9 million on revenue of $249.7 million vs. a year-ago equivalent loss of $19.5 million on revenue of $257.5 million. The stock is currently trading at roughly 65 cents a share. Sex sells and apparently so do FriendFinder shareholders.

Tibet Pharmaceuticals -- down 86.18%

Tibet Pharmaceuticals ( TBET) is another China-based company that sold the country's promising growth prospects as reason to buy the stock.

The company went public in January, selling three million shares at $5.50 each. Almost immediately, however, the stock began to slide, and by June, there was a new CEO in place. Come August, the independent auditor resigned.

Although Tibet put new auditors in place in September, the market remains wary of China-based companies with accounting questions, and the stock closed Friday at 76 cents. For its most recent quarter, the company said it earned $1.6 million on revenue of $8.6 million but that performance was down from a year-ago profit of $3.8 million on revenue of $9 million.

The company blamed the performance on increased competition and rising raw material costs but the share price shows Tibet has a ways to go before regaining Wall Street's confidence.

Imperial Holdings -- down 81.02%

Imperial Holdings ( IFT) raised $179 million in February after announcing it had become profitable six months before going public after losing money for roughly two years. The company, which purchases structured settlements and provides financing for individual life insurance policies, sold 16.7 million shares at $10.75 each.

Problems have arisen, however, in form of federal probe of both the company and its executives that remains ongoing. For the third quarter ended Sept. 30, Imperial posted a net loss of $12.6 million vs. a loss of 6.8 million in the same period a year earlier, took a charge of $14,1 million against the fair value of its life insurance investments, and said it's suspended the origination of premium finance loans as it re-evaluates that business.

"As a result of the government investigation late in the third quarter we have initiated several internal measures to conserve cash while still being able to maintain our investment in life settlement assets," said Antony Mitchell, Imperial's chairman and CEO, in a Nov. 14 statement. "We made adjustments to account for their estimated fair value in the market today. We remain committed to preserving our assets and we will curtail cash deployment in life settlements for the remainder of the year."

The stock closed Friday at $1.92, down 6.8%.

Kips Bay Medical -- down 80.62%

Kips Bay Medical ( KIPS) was a relatively small stock offering but that hasn't prevented it from being a big disappointment.

The company sold 2.1 million shares at $8 each back in February, raising $16.5 million. Kips Bay was planning to use the proceeds to secure regulatory approval of a mesh stent product to be used to support veins during heart bypass surgery.

Unfortunately, the company hit a roadblock with the Food and Drug Administatrion in September. The regulator determined that Kips Bay had not provided sufficient data for an investigational device exemption and that it needs to get more data before pursuing a clinical study. The stock settled Friday at $1.53.

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>>To see these stocks in action, visit the 5 Worst IPOs of 2011 portfolio on Stockpickr.

-- Written by Debra Borchardt in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Debra Borchardt.

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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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