Japan Airlines IPO set to be second biggest of year

Listing may help lift Asian market after deals and proceeds dwindle in first half of 2012

Japan Airlines has priced its upcoming IPO at ¥3,790 ($49) per share, bringing the total offering to ¥663 bn, placing it at the top of its proposed range, which started at ¥3,500 per share.

The price would give the company a market capitalization of ¥687 bn, making it the world’s fourth-biggest airline in terms of market capitalization. The IPO is also set to be the second biggest of the year, after Facebook’s $16 bn offering.

The airline’s 175 mn shares are to be listed on Tokyo Stock Exchange as of September 19, less than three years after the airline filed for bankruptcy protection with more than $25 bn in debt and rising.

Its re-emergence comes at a time when it has shown a profit under new administration. Passenger numbers have also risen steadily in recent months, from 580,000 in April to 642,000 in July, the latest month for which data is available.

In September 11 trading on the gray market, Japan Airlines shares were up by as much as 6 percent from the price set for the IPO, at ¥4,010 each, Reuters reports.

Lead underwriters on the deal include Daiwa Securities, Mizuho Securities, Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities, Nomura Securities and SMBC Nikko Securities, according to a company statement.

The Enterprise Turnaround Initiative Corporation of Japan, which has restructured the airline since bankruptcy, plans to sell about 131 mn of the shares in Japan and almost 44 mn internationally.

The Japan Airlines IPO is also set to sharply pick up the overall volume, by price, of IPOs in Asia so far this year after a slow first half, according to research by Renaissance Capital. Asia-Pacific deals in the second quarter of 2012 totaled $10.8 bn, less than half of the $22.8 bn recorded in the same quarter of 2011.

At the same time, the overall number of deals dropped to 29 from 61. The first quarter of this year fared even worse, with 22 deals worth $5.7 bn.

Despite the decline, Asia-Pacific has still been by far the most active region in the world in terms of IPOs this year, according to Renaissance.

Asia-Pacific proceeds raised so far in 2012 represent 46.7 percent of total global capital raised and 51.1 percent of the total number of deals worldwide.

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