India Bankers Brace for IPO Surge as Election Uncertainty Lifts

India Bankers Brace for IPO Surge as Election Uncertainty Lifts

India has turned into Asia’s hottest market for share sales including initial public offerings, and as elections come to a close, a bumper crop of deals is poised to set a record as investors seek to tap the rapid growth in the region’s third-largest economy.

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(Bloomberg) — India has turned into Asia’s hottest market for share sales including initial public offerings, and as elections come to a close, a bumper crop of deals is poised to set a record as investors seek to tap the rapid growth in the region’s third-largest economy.

About $3.9 billion has been raised in India via IPOs so far this year, more than double the same period in 2023, and a tally that’s higher than the combined amount raised in South Korea and Hong Kong, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. 

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The jump in activity for blocks and placements is even more outstanding. Taken together, sales of new and existing shares in the first half of 2024 have raised around $18.64 billion, within a hair of topping the record set in the last six months of 2017, the data show.

The year’s largest IPOs are likely yet to come, such as South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co.’s first-time share sale of its India unit, which could raise about $2.5 billion, Bloomberg News has reported. That would make it one of the biggest-ever listings in India — and bankers say the rush is just getting started.

“This kind of breadth of companies coming to the market is phenomenal,” V Jayasankar, a managing director and member of the board at Kotak Mahindra Capital Co. “Companies from all sectors are filing for IPOs and this is for the first time in my more than three decade career that I am seeing this level of robustness.”

For Jayasankar, the equity capital markets business will build up post elections, and that momentum will continue through 2025 as well. Fundraising from IPOs could exceed $20 billion over the next two years, and overall ECM activity including follow-on offerings and stake sales will likely witness strong growth, he said.

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Adani Enterprises Ltd., the flagship of billionaire Gautam Adani’s empire, and power utility unit Adani Energy Solutions Ltd. have received board approval to raise as much as a combined $3.5 billion that could be done through share sales. Tycoon Anil Agarwal’s Vedanta Ltd. could also raise about $1 billion in a share sale as soon as in the coming weeks, Bloomberg News has reported. 

Economic Growth

India’s economic growth topped 8% in the fiscal year that ended in March, providing a boost to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. 

“Investors are focused mostly on the strong underlying fundamentals of the country, along with the various sector stories and company profiles,” said Rahul Saraf, Citigroup Inc.’s investment bank head for India. “India consumption and growth stories continue to play well, and we have a healthy pipeline that will continue to execute over the coming months.”

With the end of elections lifting any potential uncertainty around policy, companies are poised to seize on India’s strong prospects and capitalize on the window of opportunity.

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“People are now far more confident in terms of continuity, more in terms of the reforms,” Jibi Jacob, head of equity capital markets in India at Jefferies Financial Group Inc. “And that has clearly played out.”

In fact, even ahead of the elections, the number of IPO filings has increased from a year earlier, Jacob said. Based on the previous two elections, Jacob said he had expected a lot of volatility and fewer deals.

Long Queue

The queue for potential listings is long indeed.

Bajaj Group is planning to file a draft prospectus in June for an IPO of its housing finance unit in the final quarter of 2024, Bloomberg News reported on Friday.

Indian supermarket chain Vishal Mega Mart Pvt. and electric-scooter maker Ather Energy Pvt have picked banks as they press ahead with their planned initial public offerings in Mumbai this year, people familiar with the matter have said. Even India-backed listings outside the country are moving forward, with aluminum producer Novelis Inc., owned by billionaire Kumar Mangalam Birla’s Hindalco Industries Ltd., seeking to raise as much as $945 million in a US IPO that’s set to price next week. 

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Read More: Big IPOs Seen Making a Comeback in India as Stock Boom Continues

The rush for Indian IPOs contrasts with other Asian markets, including China and Hong Kong, where activity remains largely tepid amid ongoing geopolitical tensions and concerns about growth. Factory activity in China unexpectedly contracted in May, a warning sign from the part of the economy that Beijing relies on most to drive economic expansion.

“India may be on the cusp of a decade of rapid development, and could overtake China as the world’s growth engine in the coming years,” Bloomberg Intelligence’s strategists Marvin Chen and Nitin Chanduka wrote in a May 29 note. 

That economic growth is supportive for more IPOs to come — from corporates to startups and beyond. Private equity firms are also doubling down on India as they seek to exit portfolio companies and deploy some of the billions in dry powder they have raised for their Asia strategies in recent months.

Carlyle Group Inc. is considering a listing of Indian IT company Hexaware Technologies Ltd., while Hillhouse Investment is considering options including a share sale for the Indian unit of Versuni Group BV, formerly Philips Domestic Appliances.

As Indian elections report results over the coming days, companies, along with their bankers and investors, will have more work to do as they try to get their plans over the finish line in the months ahead.

And it’s not just the quantity that matters, according to Jefferies’ Jacob, but the better quality of companies seeking listings — from their governance to their financial performance and bigger size of the offerings — that’s encouraging for investors.

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