• Bloomberg


Japan’s longest drought in initial public offerings since the financial crisis will end later this month when three companies list on the same day.

Locoguide Inc., Ficha Inc. and Copa Corp. are expected to list on the bourse’s Mothers market on June 24, marking a 78-day gap since Matsuya R&D Co. went public on April 6. Locoguide seeks to raise about $44 million (¥4.7 billion), the largest of the three deals. Three more Japanese companies plan to list before the end of June, and five have announced IPOs for July so far.

Global IPOs slowed to a trickle this year after the spread of the coronavirus outbreak from January, as market slumps and volatility caused issuers to stay on the sidelines. New offerings have jumped back to life with planned deals announced this month totaling over $12 billion, mainly for Chinese and U.S. companies.

The IPO dry spell caused by the coronavirus rivals the one that followed the 2011 earthquake, when there were no listings in Japan for 77 days between March and June. Listings also came to a standstill during the global financial crisis for 82 days between December 2008 and March 2009, and 81 days during April to June 2009.

“Unlike the 2011 earthquake disaster and the financial crisis, the pandemic hasn’t destroyed physical production facilities or collapsed the financial system,” said Katsumi Udagawa, manager of research at Ichiyoshi Securities Co. “Once firms get a grip on the right timing to list, the IPO schedule should get on track to recovery.”

March tends to be a heavy month for Japanese startup IPOs, ahead of the new fiscal year that begins on April 1, while also avoiding the busy earnings season in late April to mid-May. A total of 43 companies had planned to go public in March and April, but only 25 listed on schedule. Of those, only eight managed to close their first day of trading above the offer price.

Several of the companies scheduled to list soon are displaying confident outlooks as Japan’s economy reopens following virus-related restrictions. Locoguide forecasts a 48 percent increase in operating profit for the year ending March 2021. Ficha expects to report a profit after a loss last year. Goodpatch Inc., which plans to list on June 30, predicts a whopping 174 percent year-on-year profit gain for its fiscal year ending August.

“Taking into consideration tailwinds to our business after the virus outbreak, our enterprise value hasn’t dropped, so we feel no need to adjust our tentative price range,” said a spokesperson for Locoguide. The company, which provides online local information and retail services, expects an offer price of ¥1,800 to ¥2,000.

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