S. Korea’s IPOs already pass record-high on superstars’ debuts

SEOUL-- South Korea's initial public offering (IPO) market is booming with mega deals this year, already smashing the previous high while several more big deals are scheduled for the remaining months.

A total of 73 companies have raised a combined 16.1 trillion won (US$13.9 billion) through their listings in the main KOSPI and the secondary KOSDAQ markets as of Friday, according to the data by the bourse operator Korea Exchange (KRX).

The amount is more than double last year's 5.9 trillion won raised via IPOs and broke the previous record of 10.1 trillion won in 2010.

Proceeds from four big IPOs surpassed 10 trillion won as major companies rushed to go public in a stock market at an all-time high driven by ample liquidity and retail investors' fervor.

Game developer Krafton Inc. raised 4.3 trillion won from its IPO last month, which was the second-largest amount following Samsung Life Insurance Co.'s 4.8 trillion won in 2010.

Internet-only bank Kakao Bank, a financial subsidiary of Kakao Corp., drew 2.5 trillion won from its market debut last month, and SK IE Technology Co., a battery material unit under SK Innovation Co., raised 2.2 trillion won in May.

SK Bioscience Co., a bio unit under conglomerate SK Group, raised 1.4 trillion won in May.

Market watchers expect this year's IPOs will further draw funds in the coming months as companies are preparing to float their shares later this year.

Kakao Pay, another financial unit of Kakao, and major shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. are expected to each raise at least 1 trillion won via their listings in the KOSPI later this year.

LG Energy Solution Ltd., the battery arm of LG Chem Ltd., had been largely expected to debut in the Seoul bourse within this year, but its prospects are unclear in the wake of two rounds of recalls of General Motors Corp.'s electric vehicle over battery fire risks.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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