The Korea Herald


Korean maker of COVID-19 test kits seeks W647b via IPO

By Jie Ye-eun

Published : July 5, 2021 - 15:19

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A screenshot shows actor Song Joong-ki promoting SD Biosensor. (SD Biosensor website) A screenshot shows actor Song Joong-ki promoting SD Biosensor. (SD Biosensor website)
SD Biosensor, a manufacturer of COVID-19 test kits in South Korea, said Monday that it was ready to make its market debut on the nation’s benchmark Kospi this month with a lowered initial public offering price range, amid scrutiny from the financial regulator over an original valuation deemed excessive.

The in-vitro diagnostic firm’s IPO price has been set within the range of 45,000 won to 52,000 won ($39.90-$46), having been lowered by 32 percent to 39 percent from the previous target of 66,000-85,000 won. Instead of floating 10.37 million shares, the company has decided to issue some 8.29 million new common shares in hopes of raising 647 billion won, the officials said.

“COVID-19 vaccine development was a hot topic last year. Although it has been developed, the number of confirmed cases globally has not been reduced due to contagious variants that originated in South Africa and India,” said Lee Hyo-keun, co-chief executive officer of SD Biosensor.

Its market capitalization after listing is anticipated to reach 5.28 trillion won. It is the last IPO deal on the Kospi that allows investors to place multiple subscriptions, with local game developer Krafton’s market debut now delayed.

The exact share price will be set through two days of book building set to wrap up Tuesday. Retail investors’ subscriptions will be accepted Thursday and Friday, with NH Investment & Securities and Korea Investment & Securities as the main underwriters. KB Securities and Samsung Securities are also members of the underwriter group.

The IPO proceeds will be used to expand facility investment and meet growing demand for its products. The company also plans to use the funds for such purposes as research and development and clinical trials, and to fund overseas expansion to Europe and South America from the current Asia-focused business in India, Indonesia and China.

The 11-year-old SD Biosensor has logged exponential growth since the pandemic began. It produces various real-time COVID-19 test kits, including rapid chromatographic immunoassay kits, reagents and fluorescent immunoassays, which can measure COVID-19 antibodies within a small amount of blood.

The company has achieved the highest sales figures among local test kit manufacturers, thanks to its R&D capacity and strong global sales network, officials said. SD Biosensor’s sales and operating profit came to 1.18 trillion won and 576.3 billion won, respectively, in the first quarter of this year. Last year’s figures were 1.69 trillion won and 738.3 billion won, respectively.

“Amid the lingering situations, we aim to take a leap forward and become a global No. 1 on-site in-vitro diagnostic company that can guard humans’ health ... we’ll continue our research to develop more test kits that can diagnose various diseases that may emerge in the post-COVID era,” the CEO said.