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IPO market stagnates as coronavirus woes drag on

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)
South Korea’s market volatility is likely to continue as initial public offering plans for April are slipping through the cracks amid the coronavirus outbreak, according to market watchers Sunday.

Sencoretech, a Seoul-based engineering firm dedicated to manufacturing steel structures, has withdrawn its listing plan on Kosdaq, which could have raised at least 27.16 billion won ($22.32 million).

“Due to the high volatility caused by COVID-19, we decided to cancel the remaining procedure for the listing on the development board, as investors cannot gauge our true market value properly,” the company said in a statement.

Sencoretech CEO Lee Seung-hwan said he hopes to go ahead with the limiting procedure when the market stabilizes.

His remarks follow a two-day session for institutional investors. It was the second attempt for the steel framework maker to go public, following one in March. Samsung Securities was the lead underwriter for the IPO.

The Korean stock market has been on a roller-coaster ride this year.

Kosdaq, which attracted eight IPOs this year until early March, fell nearly 40 percent over a month until mid-March as the spread of the virus peaked. While the bourse has since been paring the losses, the market has seen zero listings since March 4.

The main board Kospi, which saw one debut so far in 2020, has seen a similar V-shaped recovery over the past couple of months.

In May, more IPO plans are on the deck, with Psomagen and Dreamcis looking to fetch at least 57.54 billion won and 17.61 billion won in respective IPOs.

Moreover, market authorities are moving to offer reliefs, such as extension of listing period after a preliminary IPO approval. The Korea Exchange on Thursday gave NovMetaPharma an extra six-month period to be listed on the Kosdaq bourse, which would otherwise have expired on Friday.

By Son Ji-hyoung (consnow@heraldcorp.com)
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