U.S. exchanges are getting more and more foreign listings, even if there’s some concern about their missing out on the biggest ones.
During the first quarter, 19% of the 67 initial public offerings on the New York Stock Exchange (NYX) , the Nasdaq Stock Market (NDAQ) and the American Stock Exchange were foreign-based, according to Dealogic. That’s up from 16% for all of last year.
This year is on pace to add the most foreign listings on U.S. exchanges since 1997, when 86 overseas companies completed IPOs in U.S. markets, according to Thomson Financial. Foreign companies accounted for 23.4% of IPO proceeds last year — the highest since 1994, Thomson Financial says.
The gains come in spite of worries about U.S. securities laws possibly scaring away big foreign deals. China Construction Bank raised eyebrows in late 2005 when it raised $9.2 billion in an IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China made history just last November when it raised $22 billion through listing shares in Hong Kong and Shanghai.
Observers cite the growth of Asian and emerging markets in general. U.S. investors want more international exposure, particularly from companies based in fast-growing countries such as China and India.
“U.S. investors might be willing to pay a higher value than domestic investors” for foreign companies, says Jay Ritter, a finance professor at the University of Florida. Ritter says the globalization of the capital markets and improved clearing at many exchanges are adding to the foreign-listing appeal.
For the most part, foreign companies are doing fairly small IPOs and are primarily in the healthcare, tech and media sectors.