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‘Ban on multiple IPO subscriptions to have limited market impact’

A Seoul branch office of Korea Investment & Securities puts up a banner announcing SK ie technology’s initial public offering on the Kospi market in April, during the battery material maker’s two-day public subscription period. (Yonhap)
A Seoul branch office of Korea Investment & Securities puts up a banner announcing SK ie technology’s initial public offering on the Kospi market in April, during the battery material maker’s two-day public subscription period. (Yonhap)
A new rule banning investors from placing multiple subscriptions for popular initial public offerings is unlikely to cool off the heated market with a slew of conglomerate-affiliated firms and tech companies planning their market debut in the second half of this year, market watchers said.

“A total of 37 companies submitted preliminary applications for IPOs in between April and May. Since they are highly likely to try making market debuts within this year, the latter half is expected to observe a flurry of IPOs,” said Na Seung-doo, an analyst at SK Securities.

Aiming to go public this year, subsidiaries of top conglomerates such as LG Energy Solution, Lotte Rental, Hanwha General Chemical and Hyundai Heavy Industries have submitted preliminary applications for IPOs.

While game developer Krafton received approval from the bourse operator Friday, decisions on Kakao’s finance arms, KakaoBank and Kakao Pay, are set to be announced sometime later this month.

To provide a level playing field, the Financial Services Commission, the country’s market regulator, will allow both small domestic investors and general local corporations to place bids in IPO subscriptions through only one brokerage beginning June 20.

Eugene Investment & Securities analyst Park Jong-sun forecast that this would ease competition for new share subscriptions among retail investors.

But the market watcher said its impact on the IPO market would be very limited, adding that market variables have a bigger influence than regulation.

Under the new rules, investors can apply for new share subscriptions through multiple brokerages only for companies that gain preliminary approval from the Korea Exchange and submit securities reports before June 20.

Meanwhile, an increasing number of retail investors have already turned their eyes to public offering funds with ample liquidity ahead of the ban on multiple subscriptions.

According to data compiled by market tracker FnGuide, new capital inflows of more than 3.45 trillion won ($3.09 billion) has flowed into 136 public offering funds so far this year. The accumulated assets raised from the funds came to 6.56 trillion won as of Monday.

Investors eager to make profits from newly listed firms have found an alternative method of investment. Since asset managers get to participate in IPO book buildings as institutional investors, the management companies can receive a much higher number of new shares, industry watchers explained.

By Jie Ye-eun (yeeun@heraldcorp.com)
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