Japan may see its busiest year for initial public offerings since the global financial crisis, with Japan Airlines Corp., social network providers and manufacturers preparing to issue shares.
As many as 50 domestic companies will offer shares to the public for the first time in 2012, Toshio Isohashi, head of IPOs at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co., said Wednesday in Tokyo.
That would be the highest number since 2007, the year before Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s bankruptcy triggered the deepest postwar global recession.
Japan’s IPO market has shrunk over the past decade, with none topping NTT DoCoMo Inc.’s ¥2.1 trillion offering in 1998. A share sale by Facebook Inc., the U.S. social networking site that is considering the largest Internet IPO ever held, could provide a trigger for offerings by similar companies in Japan this year, Isohashi said.
“Japan’s IPO market is returning to normal at last,” he said. “At least a half-dozen Japanese game application makers and social-networking companies will list on stock exchanges,” the banker said, without naming any.
Initial share sales in Japan dried up over the past 10 years as the country grappled with a slumping stock market, falling consumer prices and political instability that saw seven prime ministers. The number of IPOs shrank to 36 last year from 172 a decade earlier, data compiled by Bloomberg show, and the Nikkei 225 has lost more than 20 percent.
“Investors’ appetites are gradually increasing,” Isohashi, 47, said. “Some see IPO stocks as relatively cheap.”
KLab Inc., a Tokyo-based online game maker, was the best performer among the 36 domestic companies that listed last year, with its share value tripling from the IPO price, according to Bloomberg data.
In the U.S., Facebook and Yelp Inc. are set to lead the biggest year for IPOs by Internet companies since 1999, testing demand after investors lost money on Zynga Inc. and Pandora Media Inc.
The industry may raise $11 billion this year, Bloomberg data indicate. That would be the most since $18.5 billion worth of IPOs in 1999, just before the dot-com bubble burst.
Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley, the venture between Japan’s biggest banking group and New York-based Morgan Stanley, was ranked fifth in managing share sales in the country last year, Bloomberg data show. Nomura Holdings Inc. topped the list for the 10th straight year.