The IPO Buzz: Sunshine and Seoul Food

The marquee issue is GT Solar International (GMS: SOLR proposed) is a Merrimack, New Hampshire-based manufacturer of equipment to make silicon wafers, solar cells and other products used in solar power generation systems. GT Solar’s products include photovoltaic wafer fabrication machinery, silicon furnaces and optical scanning systems.
The mystery:
Dow Jones U.S. Renewable Energy Equipment Index has experienced rough, choppy sailing since its creation in mid-June 2008. (See: Sector Chart) The Index traded from 101.59, near its opening-day high, to 75.26, its low during the week of July 7, to a 94.27 close on Friday, July 18.
Over the last month, only four of its 36 component stocks were up by Friday’s close. Added to that is Wall Street buzz that the oil bubble may have popped. This isn’t exactly bullish for energy and energy-related stocks.
The offering:
GT Solar plans to offer 30.3 million shares at $15.50 to $17.50 each to raise $500 million. The IPO is to start trading on Thursday, July 24.
For the fiscal year ending March 31, 2008, GT Solar reported net income of $36.1 million on revenues of $244.1 million, compared with a net loss of $18.4 million on revenues of $60.1 million for the same period a year ago.
Formed in 1994, GT Solar has about 305 employees.
Underwriters: Credit Suisse and UBS Investment Bank are the joint-lead managers. Acting as co-managers are Banc of America, Deutsche Bank, Piper Jaffray and Thomas Weisel Partners.
And the other deal on the calendar:
North Asia Investment (AMEX: NHR.U proposed) is a Seoul-based “blank check” company that was recently formed to target businesses located in the Republic of Korea and in the People’s Republic of China.
The mystery:
Getting a “blank check” deal out the door has proven to be difficult over the last six months. Since the end of January, only two of the last seven deals appearing on the calendar with a scheduled offering date have been priced, according to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings. The rest were postponed — yes — “due to market conditions.”
The offering:
North Asia Investment plans to offer 6 million units at $10 each to raise $60 million. Each unit will consist of one common share and one warrant. The IPO is to start trading on Thursday, July 24.
Underwriters: Citi is the lead manager. Acting as co-managers are EarlyBirdCapital, I-Bankers Securities and Ladenburg Thalmann.
And then it’s on to the future.
Next week China Distance Education Holdings (NYSE: DL proposed), a Beijing-based online educational provider (Sector Chart), is on the calendar. Stay tuned — more on this later.