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SKIET shares fall 26% in debut after opening at double IPO price

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By Heekyong Yang and Scott Murdoch

SEOUL/HONGKONG (Reuters) -SK IE Technology Co Ltd (SKIET) ended its first day of trade down 26.4% from its debut price but still far above its initial public offering (IPO) price, giving the battery material maker a market value of 11 trillion won ($9.83 billion).

The South Korean firm began Tuesday trade at double its IPO price at 210,000 won before almost immediately falling well beyond the 1.2% decline in the KOSPI benchmark index.

Analysts said the 154,500 won close, 47% above the IPO price, should be viewed as a reasonable price based on SKIET‘s fundamentals rather than as a failed listing.

The decline came after electric vehicle (EV) stocks were sold off on Wall Street overnight – including major Tesla Inc which lost 6.8% – during a broader tech rout, setting a negative tone, said Clepsydra Capital founder Sanghyun Park.

SKIET supplies separators – an essential battery component – to EV battery makers including Tesla partner Panasonic Corp.

“The latest bashing of the EV stocks on the NASDAQ seems to be affecting SKIET‘s market debut,” Seoul-based Park, who publishes on Smartkarma, told Reuters.

Retail demand for local IPOs was the main force behind expectations for bullishness on SKIET stock, he said.

“But with another EV sector cooling-down like we saw yesterday in the U.S., even local retail investors have had a hard time maintaining the enthusiasm on SKIET whose business is directly correlated to the global EV sector,” said Park.

Turnover on SKIET shares amounted to 1.91 trillion won, accounting for 9% of the day’s total for the main board.

RECORDDEMAND

The listing comes as automakers worldwide increasingly add and even replace traditionally powered cars with new-energy alternatives such as fully battery-powered electric vehicles.

The trend pushed revenue from battery separators to 56% of SKIET‘s total sales last year, accelerating from 19% in 2018.

SKIET priced its IPO last month at 105,000 won per share, the top of its indicative price range. Parent SK Innovation Co Ltd said the IPO‘s institutional book was almost 2,000 times covered – the largest-ever for South Korea.

Chief Executive Rho Jae-sok has said the manufacturer will use IPO proceeds for capital expenditure topping 800 billion won annually for the next few years.

The firm operates factories in South Korea and China. In March, it said it would spend about 1.13 trillion won building two plants in Poland.

SKIET‘s first-day stock market performance mirrored that of Hybe Co Ltd – formerly Big Hit Entertainment, and manager of K-Pop boy band BTS – whose share price also doubled on debut in October before ending negative.

($1 = 1,119.5900 won)

(Reporting by Heekyong Yang in Seoul and Scott Murdoch in Hong Kong; Additional reporting by Jihoon Lee; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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