Poor retail response to IPOs rings alarm bells

DB Realty’s IPO received just 23,000 applications after the company spent Rs13.50 crore for its ads in The Times of India alone. NTPC’s FPO received just 80,000 applications. This has set the alarm bells ringing for decision makers

Retail investors continue to shun public issues. This has at last created panic among decision makers. The pride of the nation, National Thermal Power Corp (NTPC), managed to get an overall subscription of 1.2 times for its follow-on offer (FPO) with a retail participation of just 16% of the total 42.8 million shares reserved for the retail investors’ category. For its total shares on offer, NTPC received a dismal 80,000 applications from retail investors all over the country. This will be no surprise to the readers of this website. On the day NTPC opened, Moneylife had written that the NTPC issue will not attract retail participation thanks to a variety of reasons (see here). The issue opened on 3rd February.

More than NTPC, the high-profile DB Realty’s initial public offering (IPO) has failed miserably. After spending a whopping Rs13.50 crore for advertisements in the Times of India (ToI) group alone, the DB Realty IPO, which opened on 29th January, received just 23,000 applications for its Rs1,500-crore issue. It received a pathetic 457 applications from high net-worth individuals (HNIs). It is a different matter that even the ToI group advised its readers to stay away from the DB Realty IPO! (http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/features/investors-guide/DB-Realty-IPO-Investors-are-advised-to-stay-away/articleshow/5521419.cms)
The gross and continuous failure of issues to attract retail subscriptions has started ringing alarm bells among decision makers. If this continues, the government’s disinvestment programme will be badly affected. Poor retail participation is the result of years of poor regulation and malpractices by market participants, which have caused equity products to perform very poorly. “It is a crisis situation,” says an IPO expert.

The crisis has been building up over a period of time. Godrej Properties received 18,300 retail applications and 50 from HNI investors for its IPO. JSW Energy received 86,559 retail applications and just 97 from HNIs. MBL Infrastructures received just 3,616 retail applications and only 29 applications from HNIs. Den Networks (Rs195), an associate of Network18, received 3,916 retail applications and 50 from HNIs at the end of October 2009. Aqua Logistics, which was to close on 2nd February, revised its price band downwards and extended the date after failing to attract investors.

The disinterest of employees is another feature of many IPOs. The employee segment of MBL Infrastructures received only 26 applications (0.12% subscription); Astec LifeSciences received 55 employee applications (0.5% subscription), while Euro Multivision had an embarrassing 16 employee applications (0.3% subscription). Even in the case of NTPC, out of the total 42,73,220 shares reserved for the employee category, only 43%(18,73,807) of the shares were subscribed. If employees are unconvinced about a company’s pricing and prospects, how can it attract others?

As the government gets ready to raise Rs30,000 crore through disinvestment of PSU shares, its biggest worry ought to be the vanished retail investor. But regulators and officials are busy fighting turf battles or protecting personal interests. Meanwhile, India's investor population has plummeted from the claimed 20 million (probably exaggerated) in the 1990s to eight million (according to the Swarup Committee report of 2009), and is probably even smaller in reality.
 

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COMMENTS

Vandana Gupta

7 years ago

Mybe SEBI and HLCC on Financial Matters chairperson Mr. D. Swarup should recommed to the Govt. that like in Mutual Funds, Merchant Bankers be asked to charge fees from IPO subscribers based on the service and advice they render.

This seems to be the in thing today.

Also, they would convince the Govt. that ultimately what is happening in India based on their advice and recommendations will be followed in other parts of the world.

Shibaji Dash

7 years ago

Based on the experience about the juristic veil being used/abused as a device for laundering unaccounted money in the garb of equity ( recall the mushrooming of ' investment companies' in the early eighties as a prelude to the Harshad Mehta bust and also the Rupal Ben Panchal scam in 2006?), one can not dismiss the overpricing of the non-PSU IPOs as a deliberate pre-meditated two pronged strategy to (i) roll in as much money as can be seduced from the unconnected retail investors and (ii) also simultaneously have the promoters-controlled conduits like their investment companies/other entities like trusts and individuals to subscribe to the IPOs/FPOs and thus such unaccounted money transmuting as equity of the Company that made the IPOs or FPOs.To maximise the kill in case of the FPOs the market is rigged well ahead of the opening date to raise the average rate prior to that date. The PSU IPOs/FPOs appear to have fallen victims of such nexus driven manipulations of the ( private ) corporates nd the (merchant) bankers- in a repeat of the Harshad phenomenon. It is for the investing authorities of the Income Tax Dept. to take a call, much less the regulatory authorities.

Shibaji Dash

7 years ago

Pity the Govt. , hungry for money to bridge the deficit or for may be other unknown reasons, is using the PSU IPOS/FPOS like merchant bankers not factoring that the merchant bankers in the perception of the investors are a thoroughly discredited lot. Not that the retail investor/common man perceives the political masters any differently. Bankruptcy of thought all over in those in power of any genre.

Pankaj Namdharani

7 years ago

Do consider the application figures of recent IPO i.e. Infinite Computer Solutions (121000 retail app) and Jubiliant Foods which got good response from Retail. I believe it is more to do with pricing of the IPO and what is left for the investors. Most of the IPO were Overpriced be it NHPC, NTPC, JSW, Adani, pipav, so is the punishment

Tax code may foil vessel phase-out plans

Shipping companies plan to replace old vessels with newer ones. But these moves may be affected due to the tonnage tax code and the additional tax on capital gains earned from such phased-out vessels

With the decline in asset prices for new ships, many shipping companies are planning to replace their fleet with newer vessels. However, the tonnage tax and the additional capital gains tax charged on earnings from phased-out or sold vessels could be a stumbling block, says a tax expert.

“As per the tonnage tax code, shipping companies have to pay tax as per their total tonnage and not on a profit or loss basis. When you sell a ship, you realise a certain amount and when you realise more than the depreciated value, it is a capital gain, which is not covered in the tonnage tax code. Thus, the company has to pay an additional tax on this capital gain,” said Samir Kanabar, partner for tax and regulatory services, Ernst and Young.

Talking about the likely effect of this tax on the balance sheets of shipping companies, he said, “For the phasing-out of single-hull vessels, a 9-12 month window is available. In this period, people will either be upgrading or selling (their fleet). This will thus start reflecting in the next two to three quarters in their books.”
 
Typically, companies which are actively buying new ships, also have a considerable number of vessels to be phased out. Shipping Corp of India (SCI) has recently placed an advertisement for two more new ships. Moneylife had earlier reported that SCI had 10 single-hull vessels to be phased out, out of which it has already sold five ships. It plans to sell the remaining five by 2010.

GE Shipping is planning to sell five single-hull ships for scrapping. “We may not necessarily phase out all the vessels by 2010. We will plan the phase-out as per the opportunities available and will consider fixing a fleet-age limit of 25 years,” said Anjali Kumar, head of corporate communications, GE Shipping.

Mercator Lines also plans to phase out three of its existing single-hull vessels ahead of the implementation of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) guidelines on phasing out of single-hull vessels.

Apart from the phase-out, the tax expert pointed out that shipping companies are buying new ships and selling old ones even if it is not mandatory, in order to have a younger fleet. “In terms of buying a new ship, the tax code does not matter, other than the added tonnage tax. However, you have to pay an added tax on the capital gains from the old ship sale,” Mr Kanabar said.

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COMMENTS

Krishnaraj

7 years ago

While I appreciate the article, frankly there is nothing new. Anyone with industry knowledge knows that there is no tonnage tax on sale of ships and capital gains needs to be paid.

In my view the ticking bomb - if you will - is the arrival of MAT on gross assets in the new Tax Code. It will create such a large hole in the already struggling businesses that most players will be tempted to register their ships outside India....a coverage of that would be interesting

Bank sells ‘mandatory’ insurance plan to 70-year old NRI

A 70-year-old non-resident Indian woman was lured into buying an insurance plan by paying a single premium of Rs10 lakh when she approached a bank to open an NRE account

Mis-selling by institutions like insurance companies is not new. However, with more and more financial institutions entering the insurance market, customers of a particular institution are being lured and sometimes even forced to buy co-branded products. One such incident highlights the need for stricter practices by insurance companies.

About a year ago, a 70-year-old non-resident Indian (NRI) woman went to one of the largest private sector banks in the country to open a non-resident external (NRE) account. While opening the account, an executive from the bank lured the lady into buying a co-branded insurance product under the pretext of ‘mandatory’ rules. He also told her that she will have to pay the amount of Rs10 lakh only once. With no option left for opening the account, the lady obliged and left for her overseas home.

“When that lady returned after 12 months, she was asked to pay one more premium for the insurance plan. Since the bank would not return the money which she had paid for the first premium, she was again forced to pay the second instalment for the insurance policy that was forced upon her,” revealed an independent financial advisor (IFA).

It was later found that the executive who had sold the lady the insurance policy was no longer working with the bank.

In another case, another executive from the same bank has allegedly duped a 60-year-old into paying a premium for an insurance plan for one year and later told him to forget about it.

These are only two examples of cheating by executives from financial institutions, who more than often try to sell a co-branded product to innocent customers.

To tackle such increasing fraudulent cases, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) introduced a banking ombudsman scheme under Section 35 (A) of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949. The Act is in effect from 1995. A customer can register a complaint with an ombudsman if no reply is received from the bank within one month, or if the bank rejects the complaint, or if the customer is not satisfied with the reply given by the bank. If a complaint is not settled within one month, the banking ombudsman may pass an award up to Rs10 lakh or to the extent of the losses suffered by the customer up to Rs10 lakh, whichever amount is lower. Between the years 2002-06, the banking ombudsman has settled around 36,000 complaints.
 

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COMMENTS

R.B.DWIVEDI

7 years ago

The aforesaid articles does not look reliable in the absence of specific details of the name of Bank, Branch, etc, or the details of the insured as the same are not verifiable. If the publisher is sure of the news, the details should be made available without fear.

Shibaji Dash

7 years ago

At least as a starte, the Seniors in the RBI should not share any public platform with the much touted Heads of such banks.

Rajesh

7 years ago

Isnt it obvious that the bank is either ICICI or HDFC? Both are largest private sector banks in India, but I think the modus operandi is more similar to the first one.

Hemant Beniwal

7 years ago

I agree with Niranjan

Niranjan Bangera

7 years ago

Unless you actually name the banks, the above article falls under the category of "Fairy Tales".

If you are worried about defamation cases, you are in the wrong business

Santanu

7 years ago

The whole revenue driven approach where a RM is burdened with a whole lot of different targets like CASA, Loans, FD, Third Party product sale force the RMs to mis sale. Sheer target pressure. Perhaps the model needs to change to more medium to long term relationships with client where client facing RM is also evaluated based on the feedback received from the clients handled by him/her.

Hemant Beniwal

7 years ago

Thanks Moneylife for bringing such cases in front of public but why you shy away with names of these organisations. Tell name of this organisation so people should me more conscious while dealing with them.
Why media play a double standard if some crime is done by a common man they will write XYZ, from this city even colony done this. But if same level of crime is done by a affluent person they will write director of a big financial institution did this. People want to know who is this criminal.
These are my personal views; I don’t know your limitations.

big investor

7 years ago

inspite of para-banking norms as regards selling insurance products (as an agent / referral) this keeps happening.

God save us.

arvindban

7 years ago

Mis-selling of insurance products is rampant...and even the well educated are hoodwinked into buying products that work only for the seller.Banks are often peering into the accounts of their customers to see who is sitting on cash....and close in on them making all kinds of ridiculous claims,meant only to dupe.When a banking agent tires to sell you a retirement plan,the question to ask is 'whose retirmrnt is he talking about' yours or his?

One fails to understand why IRDA cannot make it mandatory for all companies to transparently tell customers for every rupeee that the customer invests ..how much goes into commissions. for agents/banks..year on year..how much is the Administrative charge,ho much is the mortality charge.Most insurance companies pass on over 50 % commissions to banks for the first year and substantial percentage every subsequent year.The structuring of Insurance products is deliberately kept so opaque..that even a qualifies Actuary wld be at loss to decipher it.Structuring of insurance products is nothing short of a scandal.The Regulator is absolutely clueless..and the customer is easy prey for unscruplous banks.

Why cant this bank be made to pay a penalty which is atleast 5 times the money they duped form the Old lady

SUHAS MANGOLI

7 years ago

This is not that new thing in practice and incidently i have come to the feeling that the regulatory authorities are also a party to it as nobody even ever looks into these things the attack is always on small fish that is the individual advisors/agents what is IRDA doing about such things It is also a common practice to force for Fixed Deposit if you want a locker and there are many such things which are going on Apart from this even the journalism is in hand and gloves as these things also never get publicised Actually these different kinds of business should be seperated out or these things are bound to happen and there is nobody who is responsible because of high rate of attiration in pvt Sector

R Balakrishnan

7 years ago

Why not put in the bank name? Surely, a bank to avoid.
Maybe the lady should sue the bank and get the money back. Just because an employee has left the bank, does not exonerate the bank.

pravimayekar

7 years ago

Such banks should be highly penalised and these banks' name should be published by RBI under notification in all newspaper for awareness of public.

K.Narayanan

7 years ago

Is RBI not aware of such things?They simply issue a circular and forget about it.It is left to the customer to slug it out in the court or ombudsman.Unless RBI cancels the banking license or at least stop issuing fresh branch opening license the pvt sector banks-read new generation-they will continue to cheat-oh,misselling-The sales executive by hoodwinking the customer obtains the consent and the bank would take the plea that the customer consented for the same.Who is the chairman-part time -of HDFC bank MrJagdish Capoor retd Dy Governor of RBI.He is appointed not for his knowledge on banking-though apprently yes-but for his ability to manage regulatory issues.What action RBI can take on HDFC bank?ICICI bank takes nice care of the inspecting team from RBI.What can you do except bear all such nonsense.Unless RBI comes down heavily on such banks public will have to suffer.When ICICI bank was in trouble a no of times when there was run on the bank it was RBI that came to its rescue.When they loot or harass the customer they don't want RBI to interfere in their freedom to do what they want because they are pvt sector .Amen!

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