Shares in human resources firm Visional Inc. have surged on its first day of trading on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s Mothers market, in Japan’s biggest new listing in more than two years.
The operator of Bizreach, one of the country’s most popular recruiting platforms for professionals, Visional rose as much as 50% above its ¥5,000 IPO price, which was the top of the indicated range.
“It’s a very well-known name and there’s anticipation that it’s finally listing,” said Katsumi Udagawa, manager of research at Ichiyoshi Securities Co. “As there’s likely to be a shortage of highly-skilled professionals when activity resumes after the pandemic subsides, it’s also a good theme for investors.”
The pop gives Visional a market value of about ¥259 billion ($2.4 billion), making it the fourth-largest firm on the Mothers startup board. In comparison with domestic competitors, it’s dwarfed by ¥8.2 trillion ($76 billion) Recruit Holdings Co., one of the nation’s largest companies, but is larger than En-Japan Inc. and Dip Corp.
Visional raised ¥68.2 billion ($632 million) in the IPO, including the over-allotment, making it the biggest listing in Japan since SoftBank Group’s mobile phone unit SoftBank Corp. debuted in December 2018.
Visional is attracting attention as a big name listing in a market that has recently been troubled. After soaring 33% last year, the Mothers Index is up just 2.5% so far in 2021. The broader Topix has fallen 3.6% in the past month as Japan prepares to enter its third state of emergency, as COVID-19 cases increase in Tokyo and Osaka.
Other recent Tokyo IPOs have seen strong performances. After a muted first day of trading on April 14, Kibun Foods Inc. is up more than 40% since its listing. CyberTrust Japan Co. more than doubled on its first day of trading just three days later.
The nation’s biggest listings have tended to have muted starts. SoftBank Corp. fell 15% on its first day and still trades below its IPO price. Likewise, mushroom farmer Yukiguni Maitake Co. has yet to rise above its listing price after its return to public markets in September last year.
Visional said it expects to make ¥960 million in operating profit in the year ending July, down more than half from a year earlier, despite a 3% increase in sales to ¥26.7 billion. While Bizreach “looks to be very profitable,” the company has a number of developing businesses that are still generating losses, according to Mio Kato, an analyst with LightStream Research who publishes on Smartkarma.
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