Vipshop Holdings Ltd, a Guangzhou-based online retailer, raised 39 per cent less than targeted in the first initial public offering in the US by a Chinese company since August.
Vipshop, which runs an online discount store in China for branded goods through vipshop.com, raised $71.5 million (Dh261 million) by selling 11 million American depositary receipts for $6.50 each, according to a PR Newswire statement from the company on Friday.
The retailer was seeking as much as $117.3 million by offering 11.2 million ADRs for $8.50 to $10.50.
A total of 13 Chinese companies completed IPOs in the US last year, down from 38 in 2010 which was the most since 2000 at least as short sellers accused Chinese companies listed on North American exchanges, such as Sino-Forest Corp and Focus Media Holding Ltd, of misstating business and assets. Just three of the companies that raised funds through IPOs in 2011 were trading above their offering price as trading closed in New York, the data showed.
"There is still a huge amount of scepticism for Chinese companies given some of the issues with financial statements, misrepresentations, and a couple of examples of outright fraud," Bruno Del Ama, CEO of Global X Funds, a New York-based exchange-traded fund company which manages $1.3 billion including Chinese equities, said by phone on Friday before the Vipshop IPO was priced.
"The US market has become a lot smarter and a lot more discerning."
Vipshop's ADRs, each representing two ordinary shares, started trading Friday on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol VIPS. The shares tumbled 15 per cent to close at $5.50.
Twice as expensive
"The market environment isn't very good, and the IPO price was below what we thought would be a fair price for our company stock," Eric Shen, Vipshop's CEO, said by phone from New York.
A major concern from investors was that the stock price may decline should they buy shares at IPO, Shen said, adding the price would "correctly" reflect the company's value in the long run.
The midpoint of Vipshop's offering range would have valued the company's stock at $463 million, or about two times net revenue of $227 million in the 12 months ending December 31, a statement from the company on Friday shows.
By that measure, Vipshop would have been twice as expensive as Beijing-based competitor E-Commerce China Dangdang Inc. The online bookseller, which went public in the US in 2010, is valued at about $603 million, or 1.1 times sales of $566 million last year.
Lost market value
Allegations regarding Chinese US-listed companies by research firms such as Muddy Waters LLC helped erase about $5 billion of market value and spurred losses for John Paulson, the billionaire who made his wealth from betting against subprime mortgages, and former American International Group Inc CEO Maurice "Hank" Greenberg.
The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index of the most-traded Chinese stocks listed in the US slid 17 per cent last year, after two years of gains.
Tudou Holdings Ltd, China's second-largest video sharing website, raised $174 million in its IPO on August 16 at $29 per ADR. The price has gained 15 per cent since to $33.30.
Qihoo 360 Technology Co a Beijing-based computer software developer, has jumped 72 per cent to $24.87 from its IPO price of $14.50 in March 2011.
Renren Inc, a Beijing-based social-network operator, has lost 62 per cent since its May IPO to $5.30 per ADR.
While the US market will gradually open up again to Chinese companies, it will take time to get back to previous levels, Global X Funds' Del Ama said. "Only high-quality companies are going to be able to come to the market in the next couple of quarters."