Global stock, bond sales derailed by market woes

By Sumeet Chatterjee and Clare Baldwin

MUMBAI/NEW YORK (BestGrowthStock) – Initial public offerings around the world are being canceled as fear over Greece’s deepening debt crisis and a sudden drop in U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) on Thursday rattled markets.

Conglomerate Swire Pacific scrapped a $2.7 billion Hong Kong IPO by its property unit on Thursday, the biggest Asian casualty so far of the damage to capital markets wrought by Greece’s economic crisis.

Swire Properties, deep into its spin-off process, is one of several Asian deals in the last few days to be yanked or downsized, as stock and bond markets suffer sharp reversals on fears Greece’s debt crisis could spread.

Swire said it pulled the offering after the market sell-off weakened demand.

“The market, globally, has been pretty volatile lately due to negative news, such as Greece’s debt problems,” said Adrian Ngan, an analyst at CCB International.

“I’m not too surprised Swire is holding off plans right now, especially since its size is quite huge and the pricing is relatively high.”

The biggest U.S. IPO of 2010 was also canceled on Thursday because of “market conditions,” a source said. Americold Realty Trust, backed by billionaire investor Ron Burkle, had originally hoped to raise $645 million through an IPO. The warehouser of chilled fruits, vegetables and meats delayed the IPO and cut its value by 7 percent before yanking it.

Hours later U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) plunged 9 percent and the Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: ) fell 998.2 points — its biggest intraday point drop. The drop might have been triggered by an erroneous trade at a big Wall Street bank, sources said. Markets later recovered some of the losses, with major indexes finishing down by more than 3 percent.

Share floatations by Ryerson Holding Corp (RYI.N: ), which processes and distributes metals, and real estate investment trust Madison Square Capital Inc (MDQ.N: ) were pulled after Thursday’s close. Underwriters declined to provide any information about Chinese oil company MIE Holdings Corp’s (MIE.N: ) IPO, which is expected to price on Thursday night. The company earlier in the day cut its IPO value 60 percent.

Bond sales have also suffered.

India’s Essar Group said its Essar Steel unit, which had been looking to issue a benchmark-sized U.S. dollar bond, put the deal on hold on Thursday, a week after sister firm Essar Energy cut the price of its London IPO.

CLOUDS GATHER

“Overall, market conditions are becoming very tough,” said Jagannadham Thunuguntla, head of equities at SMC Capitals in New Delhi. “I believe bad weather is going to gather over the primary market.”

India’s Tara Health Food also withdrew a planned offer to raise about $40 million due to poor response by investors, according to a banker on the deal who declined to be identified.

Earlier this week, China’s Giti Tire delayed a planned $500 million Hong Kong IPO, according to media reports.

Chinese property developer Fantasia Holdings Group raised $120 million in a bond issue late on Wednesday, less than the $200 million it had been looking to obtain and well below its earlier target of $300 million.

China’s New Century Shipbuilding withdrew its $560 million Singapore IPO on Wednesday, having already cut it by half.

In the United States, dental support services provider Smile Brands Group Inc pulled its planned $125 million U.S. issue early on Thursday because it could not get a high enough price.

Last week Russian fertilizer maker UralChem postponed a $642 million IPO due to market uncertainty.

CHINA PROPERTY PRESSURE

The property sector itself is also under pressure, particularly in Greater China, with governments moving to deflate what many see as bubbles.

Property shares have dominated short-selling activity, which has picked up to one-year highs.

Hong Kong stocks have dropped nearly 10 percent since mid-April, hit by an increase in bank reserve requirements unveiled over the weekend and other measures to curb property prices and absorb excess market liquidity.

Swire Pacific, the property unit’s parent, is a conglomerate with businesses in aviation, property, shipping and offshore services. It also owns Cathay Pacific Airways, Asia’s No. 5 airline by market value.

Goldman Sachs, HSBC and Morgan Stanley were underwriting the Swire Properties deal. The banks declined to comment.

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(Additional reporting by Kennix Chim, Michael Flaherty, Lee Chyen Yee, Vikram Subhedar and Alison Leung in Hong Kong, Tony Munroe in Mumbai and Douwe Miedema in London; Writing by Lincoln Feast; Editing by Ian Geoghegan, Steve Orlofsky, Leslie Gevirtz and Richard Chang)

Global stock, bond sales derailed by market woes