US IPO Week Ahead: China's #2 search engine leads busiest week of 2017 with 10 IPOs

Interacting with graphics

The 4Q17 powers ahead with 10 IPOs scheduled to raise $2.0 billion in the week ahead. That would make it the IPO market's busiest week of the year. The activity level is unsurprising given the 31 new filings in October, a two-year high. We also expect a number of IPOs to launch this week in order to price before Thanksgiving.

China's recent surge of US IPOs continues this week with three deals, each boasting a large market, fast growth and profitability. Mobile search engine Sogou , the country's #2 player, aims to raise $540 million in the week's largest offering. China-based consumer lending platform PPDAI Group and tutoring company Four Seasons Education also plan to IPO in New York. Suburban office REIT Workspace Property Trust is raising $527 million with a 4% yield. Communications platform Bandwidth is raising $84 million to kickstart growth. We'll also see two $100+ million biotech IPOs, InflaRx and Apellis Pharmaceuticals , and two regional banks, TX-based CBTX and NY-based Metropolitan Bank .

Hat-trick from China: Search, loans and education

Sogou ( SOGO ) is China's second-largest provider of mobile search, a multi-billion-dollar market. It is also the fastest-growing, taking share from dominant player Baidu. It boasts a track record of strong free cash flow and profitability, but we note its heavy reliance on traffic from Tencent, also a key backer.

PPDAI Group ( PPDF ) is raising almost $300 million at a market cap of $5.7 billion (5.7% float). A leading peer-to-peer lending platform, PPDAI's IPO closely follows the October IPO of Chinese lending peer Qudian ( QD ), which surged in initial trading before giving up most of its gains. Like Qudian, PPDAI boasts explosive growth and high margins, but the company has a short operating history at scale and faces shifting regulations.

More Chinese fintech IPOs have lined up to go public: Jianpu Technology (JT) is scheduled for mid-November, three micro-cap deals are in the pipeline (HX, AIHS, HYJF), and Lexin (LEX.RC) is on our Private Company Watchlist .

Four Seasons Education (FEDU) plans to raise $101 million in the the year's fourth US IPO of a Chinese education provider. Its peer group soared to all-time highs in mid-October and even after a slight pull back, Bright Scholar Education (BEDU; 129% from IPO) and RYB Education (RYB; 39%) have held up, while last month's RISE Education (REDU; -8%) had a weaker reception. A provider of after-school math tutoring, Four Seasons grew at 55% in the 1H17 with an impressive 35% EBITDA margin, but its concentration in Shanghai has started to cut into enrollment growth.

Two immunotherapy biotechs take a complement inhibitor public

Both biotech IPOs this week have are developing drugs that inhibit the immune system's complement system to target a variety of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

Kentucky-based Apellis Pharmaceuticals (APLS) plans to raise $150 million as it readies its sole candidate for multiple Phase 2 and 3 trials in 2018, initially targeting an eye disease and a rare blood disease. Its drug addresses markets with unmet needs and potentially-lucrative pricing, but trials will be costly, and a host of competitive drugs are in development. Backed by Morningside Group, insiders have indicated on $70 million (47% of the deal). Its fully diluted market cap of $750 million would be the year's largest for a US biotech.

Germany-based InflaRx (IFRX) is raising $100 million as it prepares to enter Phase 2b trials in the beginning of 2018 for a rare inflammatory skin disease. Backers include RA Capital and Bain Capital, and insiders plan to buy $40 million on the IPO (40%).

Two regional banks: Houston and NYC

CBTX (CBTX), a community bank with 34 branches in Houston and Beaumont, TX, plans to raise $60 million at a market cap of $619 million. With $3 billion in assets, it has steadily improved ROE and ROA. However, asset growth has been muted, and the disruption from Hurricane Harvey could impact earnings in the near term.

Metropolitan Bank Holding (MCB) is a Manhattan-based commercial bank with $1.6 billion assets that provides loans to middle market companies and high-net-worth real estate investors. To date, the company has experienced rapid growth in the competitive NY banking market. With plans to use IPO proceeds to add a sixth branch, investors will weigh its heavy Manhattan commercial real estate concentration with its track record of consistent earnings growth.

Bandwidth (BAND) plans to raise $84 million to market its CPaaS (communications platform-as-a-service). Competing with high-growth 2016 IPO Twilio (TWLO; +102% from IPO), Bandwidth should benefit as more enterprises integrate communication services into apps. It has historically been profitable with modest growth, but now plans to spend heavily on sales and marketing to accelerate CPaaS growth.

Workspace Property Trust (WSPT) is targeting more than $500 million at a billion-dollar market cap (19.8x 1H17 annualized PF FFO). The US suburban office space REIT intends to pay a 4% yield at the midpoint.

Last, OTCQB-listed AMERI Holdings (AMRH) plans to raise $8 million in a Nasdaq uplisting. The outsourced IT services provider booked $47 million in sales during the LTM, with a -14% EBITDA margin.

IPO Market Snapshot

The Renaissance IPO Indices are market cap weighted baskets of newly public companies. The Renaissance IPO Index is up 33.4% year-to-date, ahead of the S&P 500, which is up 15.6 % . Renaissance Capital's IPO ETF ( IPO ) tracks the index, and top ETF holdings include First Data (FDC) and Square (SQ). The Renaissance International IPO Index is up 27.1% year-to-date, while the ACWX is up 22.8%. Renaissance Capital's International IPO ETF ( IPOS ) tracks the index, and top ETF holdings include Japan Post and ABN AMRO Group .

The article US IPO Week Ahead: China's #2 search engine leads busiest week of 2017 with 10 IPOs originally appeared on IPO investment manager Renaissance Capital's web site

Investment Disclosure: The information and opinions expressed herein were prepared by Renaissance Capital's research analysts and do not constitute an offer to buy or sell any security. Renaissance Capital, the Renaissance IPO ETF (symbol: IPO) or the Global IPO Fund (symbol: IPOSX) , may have investments in securities of companies mentioned.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

More Related Articles

Sign up for Smart Investing to get the latest news, strategies and tips to help you invest smarter.