Israeli IPOs revving up

Aug 09, 2013
<p>CCG pivots from slowing China to the next growth company hotbed</p>

Last week Crocker Coulson was in Israel, signing up at least three new clients, which brings the number of Israeli companies in the CCG Investor Relations stable to 20. Forget China for now. For the next batch of international IPOs coming to list in the US, think Israel.

‘Unless China reforms very quickly, there’s a good chance that Israel will have significantly more IPOs next year – and that’s with a population of less than 8 mn,’ says Coulson, president of CCG. ‘And those are all quality companies, from day one set up to do business internationally.’

When China was booming, Coulson had a reputation for trekking to the remotest corners of the emerging economy as he expanded New York-based CCG, from coastal factory hives to Mongolian mines. But with the Chinese economy slowing over the last two and half years, and with the IPO pipeline drying up and alleged fraud hammering US-listed Chinese stocks, CCG’s China bet went bad.

Now the firm is doubling down, but not on China – at least not yet. ‘We had a huge run-up as China expanded, a huge contraction as China fell apart, and we spent the last year rebuilding our network and market focus,’ says Coulson.

CCG declares a new concentration on a few key industries: technology, life sciences, energy and REITs. And the first half of 2013 has seen the firm score new clients in the US, Europe and South America, making It a lot more diversified than before.

In late June Coulson parted ways with his four Los Angeles-based partners, who together owned 30 percent of CCG, and brought back CCG founder Bill Coffin as chairman emeritus. That helped clear the way for recent high-level appointments like Saud Masud, who headed up Middle East and North Africa research for UBS out of Dubai, and Ken Trbovich, who brings more than a decade of experience as a healthcare analyst at the likes of RBC Capital Markets.

Coulson hasn’t abandoned China by any means. In September, for example, CCG is organizing the China Best Ideas investment conference in Beijing with accounting firm Marcum Bernstein & Pinchuk, aimed at cleaning up the tarnished reputation of Chinese companies among international investors.

But as Coulson points out, just one Chinese IPO, Light in the Box, made it to the US this year, with a second, Carlyle-backed GDC Technology, postponing its listing because of market conditions. Two or three more are the pipeline for the rest of the year. As for Israeli companies, he predicts at least eight will list in the US over the next year.

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