Volatile markets upset listing

PRIVATE hospital group Life Healthcare traded flat in its market debut yesterday, after raising R5,3billion in an IPO battered by global market turmoil.

PRIVATE hospital group Life Healthcare traded flat in its market debut yesterday, after raising R5,3billion in an IPO battered by global market turmoil.

The company, which runs private hospitals across South Africa, originally planned to raise R8billion through its initial public offering last week, but cut that back by about 30percent, citing volatile equity markets.

The original price would have made it the second-largest IPO on record by a SA company, and was seen as a sign of renewed interest in the Johannesburg market, where the number and value of new listings have slumped.

But the downturn in equity markets, and concerns that the shares were overpriced, sapped investor demand.

Company shares first traded at R13,50, valuing it at R14,13billion. The free-float market capitalisation was R5,28billion.

About R670million worth of shares changed hands, and traders said the stock's trading level indicated that investors saw the IPO offer price as fair.

"I'm not so sure that it will pick up. The market is still nervous and skittish, and a lot of recent new listings haven't shot the lights out when they hit the trading screens," said Garth Mackenzie of Imara SP Reid. - Reuters

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