(Updates closing price, clarifies IPO details)
By Byron Kaye
SYDNEY, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Shares in Australian billboard company oOh!Media Ltd closed lower on their listing day in Sydney on Wednesday, in a further sign that investors have lost appetite after gorging on a record year for Australian initial public offerings.
oOh! shares opened at A$1.89 at 0100 GMT and fell as low as A$1.85, 4 percent below their A$1.93 issue price, before closing at A$1.90 while the broader market rose.
The listing of Sydney-based oOh!, which raised A$166 million, is one of the last in what has been Australia’s biggest year of IPO activity on record. Nearly $15 billion has been raised, more than double proceeds raised in 2013.
oOh!’s performance will be closely watched by other company owners weighing prospects for IPOs after several listings fell flat in recent weeks.
A month earlier, oOh! rival APN Outdoor Group Ltd debuted at a premium to its issue price. But the stock has since fallen to A$2.54, below the A$2.55 issue price.
oOh!’s owner CHAMP Private Equity diluted its stake to 32 percent from 76 percent by issuing new shares. Minority shareholders also diluted their stakes in a listing that gave the company a market capitalisation of A$278 million when trading began on Wednesday.
Although CHAMP didn’t sell any of its existing shares, the listing effectively makes for a swift 71 percent return on investment for the private equity firm, which took previously listed oOh! private for A$163 million in March 2012.
“One of the things you learn, having been listed previously, is not to worry about movements in the market and worry about the fundamentals of the business,” oOh! Chief Executive and founder Brendon Cook told Reuters in a telephone interview.
“The fundamentals are strong and we know it’s priced right.”
$1 = A$1.2161 Reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell