SoftBank Suffers Rare Japan Debut Drop After Record IPO

SoftBank Suffers Rare Japan Debut Drop After Record IPO

SoftBank Corp shares slumped more than 10 percent on debut, as investor appetite for Japan’s biggest ever IPO was hurt by a recent service outage at the telecoms operator and worries over its exposure to Chinese telecoms gear maker Huawei.

The poor start for the unit of investment giant SoftBank Group Corp was uncommon in the Japanese IPO market. Of 82 IPOs so far this year, SoftBank was only the seventh to open below the IPO price. Among recent major IPOs, Japan Display was the only one to flop, suffering a fall in its 2014 debut.

“Retail investors are dumping shares after seeing the opening below IPO price, also affected by a service outage,” a market analyst at a brokerage said, declining to be named because he was not authorised to talk to the media.

“But I don’t expect the shares will fall much further given their dividend yield and expectations for being included in stock indexes,” he said.

Following its $23.5 billion initial public offering, shares of SoftBank Corp fell as far as JPY 1,344 five minutes into trade, or 10.4 percent lower than its IPO price of JPY1,500. The broader Tokyo market was up 0.1 percent.

SoftBank Corp shares were most heavily traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s first section, accounting for about a third of the total turnover volume.

At 10:48 a.m. (0148 GMT), the shares were at JPY 1,384, after opening at JPY 1,463. SoftBank Group was up 0.5 percent.

SoftBank Corp CEO Ken Miyauchi will hold a news conference at 0630 GMT.

The IPO was just shy of the world record $25 billion 2014 listing of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, a SoftBank Group portfolio company.

During the IPO period, Japan’s third-largest mobile phone network provider by subscriber numbers suffered a rare nationwide service outage, which it said would not affect earnings or dividends.

Adding to investor worries, SoftBank Corp’s relationship with Huawei Technologies Co came under scrutiny as governments around the world moved to shut out the Chinese firm amid worries its gear could facilitate Chinese spying.

SoftBank Corp, which has the most exposure to Huawei among Japanese telecoms firms, plans to replace Huawei-provided 4G network equipment with other suppliers’ hardware, two sources said, in a process likely to be time-consuming and expensive.

IPOs are popular among Japanese retail investors, many of whom see them as sure profit bets given their tendency to open much higher than offering prices.

In SoftBank Corp’s case, an added attraction was its promise of a dividend payout of 85 percent, much higher than those of rivals NTT DoCoMo and KDDI Corp.

The IPO attracted about twice as many retail orders as the number of shares offered, sources at lead underwriters said last week. A smaller portion of shares offered to overseas intuitional investors was three times oversubscribed.


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Mobile Migration

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