The U.S. initial public offering market is gearing up for another busy week with eight deals on tap expected to raise about $2 billion, led by Azek Co., a maker of materials for outdoor living products.
Last week was the busiest of the year so far with eight deals and two special purpose acquisition vehicles (SPACs) hitting the market in stride.
“For the first time since June 2018, all eight IPOs raised more than originally expected, either by pricing above the range or upsizing their offerings,” according to commentary from Renaissance Capital, a provider of institutional research and IPO-related exchange-traded funds.
The market went through a sleepy period during the coronavirus pandemic before last week’s reawakening. While the secondary market has been on fire — May’s dollar volume of share offerings is the biggest since 2014, according to BTIG, as companies moved to bolster liquidity positions after the pandemic set in — new issuers have had to wait for an equity-market recovery from its pandemic lows.
So far in 2020, there have been 43 IPOs, down 31% from the same time a year ago. But the Renaissance IPO exchange-traded fund
has performed strongly, returning 22.6% in the period, thanks to the inclusion in the index of recent IPOs of digital companies and others that are benefiting from working-from-home products and services, such as Zoom Video Communications Inc.
Slack Technologies Inc.
and biotech Moderna Inc.
which is developing a COVID-19 vaccine.
Last week’s deals included the biggest IPO of the year to date, that of Warner Music Group Corp.
which returned to public markets after nine years as a private entity and raised $1.93 billion by selling 77 million shares priced at $25 each, the higher end of its $23 to $26 price range. That stock ended the week up 20%.
This week’s biggest deal will be Azek
which will raise $625 million at the top end of its price range.
“We are an industry-leading designer and manufacturer of beautiful, low-maintenance and environmentally sustainable products focused on the highly attractive, fast-growing Outdoor Living market,” the company says in its prospectus.
The deal is being underwritten by 14 banks, led by Barclays. Proceeds will be used to redeem outstanding debt and for general corporate purposes. In the first six months of fiscal 2020 to March 31, the company had a net loss of $5.8 million that was narrower than the $20.8 million loss posted in the year-earlier period. Sales rose to $411.6 million from $357.4 million.
The prospectus acknowledges the challenges being posed by the coronavirus pandemic and says it has cut staff and tapped credit lines to tide it over. It also concedes that it has a heavy debt load at $1.2 billion.
The company’s main peer is Trex Inc.
which is profitable. Trex had net income of $42.4 million in the first quarter on sales of $200 million. That was up from net income of $31.6 million a year ago and sales of $179.6 million. Trex stock has held up through the pandemic, and is up 38% in the year to date, outperforming the S&P 500, which is down 0.8%.
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The second biggest deal of the week will be online used car seller Vroom Inc.
which is aiming to raise around $467 million. Vroom is also loss-making, but revenue is growing at a tidy clip. The company’s net losses hit $143 million in 2019, wider than the $85.2 million loss posted in 2018. In the first quarter, it lost $41.1 million compared with a loss of $27.1 million in the first quarter of 2019, its prospectus shows.
Revenue rose 39% to $1.2 billion in 2019. For the three months ended March 31, sales rose 60% to $375.8 million, Vroom said.
Vroom’s main peer is Carvana Inc.
which went public in 2017. That stock has rebounded since March, when most of the U.S. went under shelter-in-place orders to slow the spread of the virus. Shares of Carvana are trading more than 600% above the company’s 2017 IPO price.
Vaccine maker Vaxcyte
is aiming to raise $210 million at the top end of its price range and will use the proceeds to fund clinical research.
“Its lead candidate, VAX-24, is a 24-valent investigational pneumococcal conjugate vaccine designed to provide broad-spectrum coverage of Merck’s Pneumovax 23 with an immunogenicity profile comparable to Pfizer’s Prevnar 13,” according to Renaissance Capital.
The company is hoping to advance VAX-24 into clinical trials in the 2021 second half.
The remaining deals are:
• Burning Rock Biotech, a Chinese cancer test maker, which is aiming to raise up to $210 million by selling 13.5 million American depositary shares at $13.50 to $15.50 each. The company has applied to list on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “BNR.”
• Avidity Biosciences Inc.
which specializes in muscle disorders, plans to offer 10 million shares priced at $14 to $16 each to raise up to $160 million. The company has applied to list on Nasdaq, under the ticker symbol “RNA.” Cowen, SVB Leerink, Credit Suisse and Wells Fargo are underwriters on the deal, with proceeds earmarked for the development of treatments for DMD and muscle atrophy, as well as for working capital.
• Generation Bio Co.
a biotech specializing in gene therapy treatments for rare diseases, plans to offer 7.4 million shares priced at $16 to $18 each to raise up to $133.2 million. The company has applied to list on Nasdaq, under the ticker symbol “GBIO.” J.P. Morgan, Jefferies, Cowen and Wedbush PacGrow are underwriting the deal. Proceeds will be used to fund R&D, to develop platform technologies and for general corporate purposes.
• uCloudlink, a Chinese mobile data marketplace, is aiming to raise $53 by selling 2.6 million American depositary shares priced at $18 to $20.50. The company has applied to list on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “UCL.” Proceeds of the deal, which is being underwritten by I-Bankers Securities, Valuable Capital Ltd., Tiger Brokers and Loop Capital Markets, will be used to fund R&DS, for general corporate purposes and for potential acquisitions.
• Lantern Pharma
a biotech working on cancer treatments, is aiming to raise $26.52 million by selling 1.56 million shares priced at $15 to $17 each. The company has applied to list on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “LTRN.” The sole bookrunning manager is ThinkEquity, with Dougherty & Co. and Paulson Investment Co. acting as co-managers.
• Rounding out the list is SPAC Hudson Executive Investment
which is aiming to raise up to $300 million. SPACs, or blank-check companies, have no set business until they acquire a company or companies with the money raised in an IPO. The company is aiming to acquire a fintech or health care business, according to its prospectus.
The Renaissance IPO ETFwas up 1.3% Monday, while the S&P 500 was up 0.5%.