LONDON (Reuters) - A stock market rally is breathing fresh life into equity capital markets across developing countries, with bankers predicting some long-awaited IPO deals will finally get off the starting blocks in coming months.
After five years of underperformance, emerging equities have rebounded 13 percent during 2016, attracting record sums from investors fleeing the low returns of other asset classes.
That has already triggered some initial public offerings (IPOs) including in India, where ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Co Ltd on Monday launched a bid to raise almost $1 billion in what will be the biggest local listing since 2010.
“The recent rally in prices clearly makes the valuations more attractive, which influences a company or its shareholders on whether to bring a company to the market,” said James Roe, equity capital markets partner at law firm Allen & Overy.
But a market rout in January followed by uncertainty caused by events such as the Brexit vote have left companies wary of committing to equity fundraisings, and just over $25 billion has been raised this year via 110 emerging market IPOs, Thomson Reuters data shows.
This is down from nearly $37 billion across 130 deals in the first three quarters of 2015 and far off the more than $120 billion tally for the whole of 2014.
But many believe the pace is about to quicken.
State-owned Postal Savings Bank of China (PSBC) launched an up to $8.1 billion IPO in Hong Kong last week while BSE, India’s second-biggest stock exchange, filed for one earlier this month.
In South Korea, construction machinery maker Doosan Bobcat Inc is expected to make its stock market debut in late-October, raising up to 2.45 trillion won ($2.2 billion) in potentially the country’s second-largest listing ever.
Ken Brown, Head of Global Finance at Nomura, said a pipeline had started to build in recent weeks both for IPOs and for rights issues by already listed firms.
“There are... some big rights issues that are likely to happen, particularly in the bank space,” he said.
He also noted a “slew” of slower-burning IPOs, many of which had been worked on during the summer. “We expect to see a number getting launched pre year-end and with a lot of others lining up for spring next year.”
Some rights issues have already found a warm welcome.
Polish bank Alior raised 2.2 billion zloty ($570 million) in a June deal that saw a take-up of 99 percent.
Signs of a turnaround in the economic fortunes of larger developing countries, notably Brazil and Russia, may also benefit equity capital markets.
Brazil’s last IPO was in June 2015 and equity fundraising this year is running around the weakest rate in over a decade. But as the steepest recession in eight decades shows signs of lifting, several firms have filed for permission to sell stock, two via IPOs.
“In Brazil, almost everything is up for sale right now....If you think about the depth of the recession ...it shouldn’t be a surprise there are quite a few corporates out there who need to raise capital either on equity or on debt markets,” said Will Ballard, head of emerging markets & Asia Pacific equities.
Ballard expects a rise in fundraising across Latin America from the low levels seen at the end of 2015.
Russia has also been absent as it suffered the effects of tumbling oil prices and Western sanctions imposed over Moscow’s role in the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
It has seen no IPOs this year, after four in 2015 and eight in 2011, Thomson Reuters data shows, though the government has raised around $800 million by selling a stake in diamond miner Alrosa. It also plans to list shares in oil firms Bashneft and Rosneft among others but the timing is unclear.
Bankers say an IPO resurgence is unlikely for now in the commodity and energy-heavy economy at a time when investors prefer to invest in sectors such as consumer goods.
“We need to see a stabilisation of consumer sentiment and once that is there, some of the stronger companies in that sector could look to IPO,” said Georgy Egorov, emerging markets head of equity capital markets at UBS.
($1 = 1,119.0300 won)
($1 = 3.8598 zlotys)
Reporting by Karin Strohecker; editing by John Stonestreet