IPO investing by borrowing can hurt

Last Updated: Thu, Jan 03, 2013 06:37 hrs

With issues like Care, Bharti Infratel and PC Jeweller, the initial public offering (IPO) market is buzzing, yet again. There is sudden action amid broking and non-banking financial institutions as well. These institutions fund high net worth individuals (HNIs) for investing in IPOs for a quick buck.

But unlike the good times when every issue, even the not-so-strong ones, sailed through, things are different now. So, both retail and HNIs, borrowing to invest should be more careful because investor enthusiasm has not been consistent. That is, while the Care IPO was subscribed 42 times, Bharti Infratel was subscribed only 1.3 times. In the latter’s case, the HNI portion was not even fully subscribed. Obviously, investors are being more discerning.

In such a situation, tactics like borrowing to make a quick buck or listing gains may backfire. But the dice is heavily loaded against the borrower, most times.

For instance, in case of Care, the issue price was Rs 750 and the listing price Rs 942. The issue was oversubscribed 42 times. The HNI portion was oversubscribed 111 times. Assuming, an HNI invested Rs 1 crore and applied for 13,333 shares. But he would have been allotted only 120 shares, which would have messed up his returns.

Sudip Bandyop-adhyay, managing director & chief executive officer (CEO) of Destimoney Securities, says “HNIs will prefer to get a much higher chunk of allotment. The higher the (number of) shares allotted, the better it is because only then will he get a higher percentage of return on the capital or borrowing. So, HNIs will prefer if the subscription is not too much,’’ he says

As it would have happened with Care and other IPOs – if the HNI paid the margin (out of pocket) of five per cent or Rs 5 lakh and borrowed the remaining Rs 95 lakh – his cost of borrowing for nine days would have been Rs 35,137 at the rate of 15 per cent annually (the rates can go up to over 20-25 per cent in good times). So, the total investment would be Rs 535,137.

Since the applicant was allotted only 120 shares, the share should have been listed at Rs 1,042 to break even. In other words, despite a good listing of Care, investors who borrowed to apply lost a good 10 per cent, if they were looking for listing gains. Things would have been worse in case of Bharti Infratel, as the issue price was Rs 220 and the listing price Rs 200.

No wonder, when you are borrowing to invest two things need to go right – one, the issue should not be subscribed so much that you barely get a few shares, and two, it has to list at a significant premium to the issue price. Both the conditions, technically, are almost impossible to fulfil. If there is little demand for the issue, it is unlikely that it will list at a higher price.

The occasional exception, as the CEO of a brokerage house puts it, can happen only when there is little liquidity in the market or complete despondency amid investors. “Very rarely do investors make serious money or as they say, listing gains in an IPO,” he says. Then, why bother.

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