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IPO and secondary offering: I

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I have written an article talking about why Chinese companies come to list in NYSE or Nasdaq a while ago. This is a topic warrants more than one article, amid the VISA filing for IPO and recent controversy of Chinese companies (Ping’an and Pu Fa) tried to do secondary in Shanghai. So let me talk about the reasons why companies go to capital market for money.

I remember Ken Fisher talked about the use of debt or stock for companies in terms of raising money, in his book “Only 3 questions that count“. To sum it up, a company will always look for a better way to finance its operation/growth, if the debt (borrow from banks) is available and cheap, they will do it. On the other hand, they will go with issusing stocks. He further explains why maturing companies (with low PE) finds borrowing is cheaper, and growth companies finds issuing stocks is cheaper.

China Ping an insurance IPO pic
(Picture above: CEO of China Ping’an insurance at IPO media event)

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Lessons from Longtop

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Well, Longtop did not turn out to be long top, it was a short top if you will. I sold most of the shares today (still 50 shares pending in Scottrade).

The problem with Longtop (LFT) is not fundamental, it’s rather valuation. In current market, I think an unproven Chinese financial software (IT service) company like Longtop can not sustain its bubble price at IPO.

Some lessons:

1) Be careful of IPO (maybe I got MR at pure luck, but I did not get it in the first day). Also be careful of all underwriters: from JP Morgan (NINE), WR Hambrecht (XFML, GSIT), and Goldman Sachs (LFT)…NINE and XFML are in my Hall of Shame list, will LFT join them too?

2) Again valuation. A good company does mean good stock. Look at Baidu during 2004 IPO to 2006.

3) Don’t averege down if I haven’t made any money from a stock, e.g., SBUX, LFT,…I think CROX is different because I made money on this one, and has some knowledge on it. In other words, if average down too many times, something must be wrong here.

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China ADR crashed

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(Update) Halter US China Index closed down 7.89% and FXI down 7.55%. China Mobile (CHL), a major component of both index, is down 7.79% today.

FXI (FTSE Xinhua 25) dropped 7.23% as of now 11:27 AM US CST.

Halter US China Index (web site), which is more broad based Chinese ADRs traded in the US (although PetroChina, China Mobile has a bigger weight), dropped 7%.

And last but not least, trader818 China ADR index, dropped 8.4%.

Sounds a lot like the Feb 28, 2007, except the bear comes early this year. Although the general US market also dropped a lot, this Chinese drop seems a bit excessive. I unloaded some LFT today (yes I decided to take the bite, rather than hanging there dead). I think going forward small cap Chinese ADRs, especially newly listed IPOs, will perform wose than the large cap ones. Just like the “2-8” and “8-2” phenomena in China domestic market, when things are uncertain, stay with the big guys 🙂

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Two more questions for Longtop

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longtop logo

1) Why it quit the outsourcing biz?
We know outsourcing is a typically low margin business. Interested readers can look at the VanceInfo (formerly WorkSoft), the first Chinese IT outsourcing company listed in Nasdaq. It did IPO recently.

Longtop should not get into the oursourcing business to begin with. I suspect the VCs suggested the company to quit the outsourcing business, and the company did so early this year. This move will improve the profit margin and it will look good on the finanial statement. More importantly, it will save the company resources and focus on its main business: the software and service for China financial industry.

As a side note, by quiting outsourcing Longtop may have avoided the effect of “slowdown” of US financial sector (depends on the type of customers they serve). From I heard from Cisco conference call a while back, the US financial indutry is cutting back on IT spending now.

2) Effect of tightening monetary policy
For example, the raise of bank reserve rate by People’s bank of China. The move was to make sure economy not overheat, and banks should be prudent on its lendings. This will not have effect on banks’ IT spending. Because the bank IT budget is separately from its bank reserve. As I said in my previous post, banks are increasingly rely on sophiscated IT systems for customer relations, marketing and sales, internal management, etc.

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Home Inns and Longtop

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Home Inns (HMIN) is raising fund through convertible bond (up to) $149 m (reuters news). It seems they still need the cash to expand.

Longtop got more analyst converge: Deutsche bank and Jefferies initiated with Buy with target price of $30 and $29, respectively. Quoted here:

Deutsche Bank initiates coverage on Longtop Financial Technologies (NYSE: LFT) with a Buy rating, setting a $30 price target, citing a great position within its quickly growing industry, unique barriers to entry and impressive operating results…

Jefferies initiated Longtop Financial (NYSE:LFT) with a Buy rating and $29 target, as they expect strong earnings growth over the next several years from an acceleration in P&L performance and the company’s attractive secular demand backdrop.

home inns map pic
(image from

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My take on Longtop

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longtop logo

First a little background. Longtop did its high profile IPO on Oct. 24, a short month ago at NYSE (think how much market sentiment has changed since then). As the first Chinese software company listed in NYSE, Longtop is in the sweet spot in terms of the customers they serve: the Chinese banks. Chinese banks, both the big 4 and the (smaller) city commercial banks, have lots of money to spend lately, after raising tons of cash through IPO in recent years.

On the serious side, the banks do need to improve the workflow and upgrade their IT system, so that their customers don’t have to wait one hour for over the counter service, or wait half an hour for ATM machine. The banks are also targeting the newly minted middle class for personal banking, credit card and other services. After all, it IS a competitive environment. China opened up RMB services to foreign banks early this year. If people can not get the services at domestic banks, they may go to foreign banks.

Here are two common questions for Longtop.

1) The usage of the IPO proceeds.
According to its F1 prospectus, the company plan to use the net proceeds of this offering as follows:

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Longtop: update

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longtop logo

(Updated) I used the revenue number from company report and calculated the growth rate, using google spreadsheet. Revenue, in thousand of $, the following columns may not align right, click the G speadsheet above if you like.

FY ending
3/31/2007 3/31/2008 growth rate 3/31/2009 growth rate
Q1 9238 11530 24.81% ?
Q2 11204 20200 80.29% ?
Q3 11581 15500 33.84% ?
Q4 7750 10770 38.97% ?
Total 39773 58000 45.83% 80000 37.93%

Couple things:
1) Seasonality: the past quarter (ending Sept. 30) is the strongest. The company did say summer and fall are typical strong quarters. Note the seasonality is quite different from typical US software company, where Q4 (quarter ending Dec 31) is ususally the strongest.

2) Healthy growth overall. The recent boom can be attributed to the boom of Chinese banking industry. The question is can the company can sustain this 40% growth rate?

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Waiting for Longtop Financial earning

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longtop finance logo

(Update 2) Just listened to its CC, CEO Mr. Lian said fiscal 2009 (Apr 1 2008 to March 31 2009) revenue forecast is 80 m. Note they said fiscal 2008 revenue would be 58 m. I felt they are being conservative on the numbers here. The CEO was very bullish on the IT spending of Chinese banks, insurance companies and financial subsidiary of large companies. FENet will contribute 10 m revenue in fiscal 2009. Not too bad.

Just a little book keeping: CFO Derek said the fiscal 2008 earning will be 68 cents; outstanding shares will be 53 m by March 31 2008.

(Update) Just as I was writing, it reported its quarter. The number of this quarter looked OK. But the outlook for next quarter and the year were so so (45.7% YoY revenue growth).

I would be very interested to hear what CEO Mr. Lian has to say.

(Original) LFT is going to report momentarily. I still have all the shares bought since its late Oct. IPO (yes, under water now), and here are my impressions from reading its prospectus last night.

1) The revenue growth will be OK. They forecast a low 40s growth YoY.

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Added more longtop

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longtop logo
This morning when two stocks are traded at about same price, I sold remaining Starbucks (SBUX) , and got some more Longtop Financial (LFT). I still like the long term prospect of Starbucks, especially its international expansion. But at this time SBUX is still a slow growth US company, and it will remain so for a while.

Meanwhile, Longtop, the first Chinese IT/software company listed in NYSE, is enjoying healthy growth in the sweet spot in China: financial industry. My recent trip to China confirmed my belief of the long term growth of Chinese banks. Banks will get more sophiscated, i.e., they will use more software and IT services to improve efficiency, to figure out what customer wants, to serve customer better (shorter waiting line, maybe?)…

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Travel, weather and stocks

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Vanke (00002.SZ) expects a 100% to 150% profit growth in 2007 (vs. 2006). That translated to a 67% to 100% increase of earning per share. Chairman Wang Shi is saying the China real estate industry is still fragmented: Vanke has 1.25% of market share.

Longtop Financial (LFT), the new IPO, is under pressure today. Bought some more at $27.87. As one would expect, the stock went lower after I bought.

St. Louis is colder and drier than I thought. Not a warm welcome to my wife Ruixian, either 🙂

Afraid of all the fall leaves being gone soon, we toured the scenic Missisipi drive from Alton to Graftion yesterday afternoon. There are plenty of people at “loading docks” etc. Back to American way of leisure…

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