The IPO Buzz: A Trio of Winners

Each of the three deals that were priced scored solid aftermarket gains. They were Aircastle (NYSE: AYR), Evercore Partners (NYSE: EVR) and even Qimonda AG (NYSE: QI).
Aircastle, a Stamford, Connecticut-based jet aircraft leasing company, led off the week with a strong opening-day gain.
Bankers priced 9.1 million shares at $23 each on Monday evening. That was on the high end of its $21- to $23-per-share filing range. It closed its opening day, Tuesday, at $26.60 per share, UP 15.7 percent from its initial offering price.
Aircastle was priced in the face of a weak stock market. The Nasdaq Composite Index had lost 20 points over the two previous trading sessions.
The story: Pricing the deal on the high end of its filing range in a weak market signaled the offering was in strong demand.
Evercore Partners, the New York City-based financial services firm, was a winner from the get-go. Bankers priced 3.95 million shares at $21 each on Thursday evening, above its filing range of $18 to $20 per share. The IPO closed its opening day, Friday, at 24.85, UP 18.3 percent from its initial offering price.
The story: Pricing a deal above its filing range confirmed what everybody knew — the offering was “hot.”
Qimonda AG, the semiconductor spin-off from Infineon, looked dismal when it planned to price 63 million shares at $16 to $18 each to raise $1.1 billion, pricing the deal at $18 per share. The consensus from IPO professionals making up the SCOOP ratings gave the deal a 1-Star rating. Actually, at $16 per share, they expected the deal to start trading flat to lower in the aftermarket.
Bankers priced 42 million shares at $13 each to raise $546 million on Tuesday evening. That was a cut of about 50 percent. The IPO closed Wednesday at $13.54 per share, UP 4.15 percent from its initial offering price.
The story: Bankers found a cheap enough price to get the deal out the door and to trade at a premium in the aftermarket. It traded as high at $14.18 per share in Friday’s market. Sometimes cutting a deal doesn’t work. But it did for Qimonda.
There was confusion surrounding one of last week’s deals. It was GNC (NYSE: GNC proposed).
GNC, a Pittsburgh-based specialty retailer of health care products, didn’t make it out the door. Bankers had planned to price 23.5 million shares at $16 to $18 each on Thursday evening.
Confusion set in Friday morning. The financial press sourced a GNC spokesperson saying the deal was withdrawn due to market conditions.
The Securities and Exchange Commission EDGAR Database did not support the statement. There was no report of the deal being withdrawn.
The lead manager, Merrill Lynch, said the deal is expected to be priced during the week of August 14.
RetailRoadshow, an online provider of electronic road shows, listed a Monday, August 14, pricing date for GNC.
This brings us to last week’s final deal.
InterMetro Communications (AMEX: ITR proposed), a Simi Valley, California-based provider of voiceover Internet Protocol, or VoIP, network infrastructure, postponed its deal until September.
The Trumps from EDGAR:
But the real IPO story from last week’s IPO Corral came from the SEC’s EDGAR filings.
Thirteen companies filed plans to go public. (See: IPO Traffic and available SCOOP ratings.) They hope to raise $1.3 billion. There was more.
Since the beginning of August, a total of 21 companies have filed plans to go public. They hope to raise $3.1 billion.
The story: The new-issue filing traffic has been building. There just might be a reason.
On July 21, the Nasdaq Composite Index closed on its 2006 low at 2,020.39. Historically speaking, it usually takes about six to eight weeks for the IPO calendar to come back to life after a stock market low.
With the clock ticking on those six to eight weeks, that would bring us past the Labor Day break and into mid-September for a revival of the IPO market.
And what are the bankers doing? It looks as if they are priming the IPO pump and expecting a busy fall season.