Crocodile-branded menswear maker attracts mostly retail investors on day 1 of IPO

The initial public offering of SP Apparels Ltd, the maker of menswear under the Crocodile brand, made a slow start on Tuesday with the issue covered just around 11% at the end of the first day, stock-exchange data show.

Retail investors were the sole saving grace, having applied for over a fifth of the shares reserved for them. The portion set aside for high net-worth individuals and corporate houses was covered around 7% while institutional investors were yet to apply for any shares.

Non-retail investors usually bid for a public issue on the last day, so the opening day of the IPO may not spell bad news for SP Apparels.

The company had raised Rs 71.5 crore ($10.7 million) from a clutch of mutual funds and portfolio investors ahead of the IPO, on Monday.

The firm, which is seeking a valuation of as much as Rs 675 crore ($100 million) in the IPO, sold shares at the upper end of the price band of Rs 258-268 apiece to the anchor investors. Funds managed by DSP Blackrock, Goldman Sachs, UTI, Morgan Stanley, Birla Sun Life and Principal Mutual Fund picked up the shares on Monday, as per a stock-exchange disclosure.

The overall public issue comprises a fresh issue of shares to raise around Rs 215 crore and an offer for sale of up to 9,00,000 shares by mid-market private equity firm Jacob Ballas, which owns the stake through New York Life Investment Management India Fund II LLC.

SP Apparels will be the third portfolio firm of Jacob Ballas to go public in a little over a year. Last year, two portfolio firms of the PE firm—theme park operator Adlabs Entertainment and infrastructure construction, development and management firm PNC Infratech—went public.

The Jacob Ballas fund had picked up a 10.71% stake in SP Apparels for Rs 36 crore in November 2006. It currently owns a 10.5% in the company and will sell around half of this.

The apparel maker, which operates 21 factories in Tamil Nadu, had filed its draft red herring prospectus for the IPO with capital markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) in December. It received SEBI approval for the IPO in April. 

The IPO of SP Apparels will also test the primary market's appetite for an apparel firm. Another PE-backed apparel firm that floated its IPO was Monte Carlo Fashions Ltd in December 2014. Monte Carlo, which generates much higher profits compared with SP Apparels, never managed to touch the IPO issue price after listing.

SP Apparels, led by chairman and managing director P Sundararajan, posted a net profit of Rs 37.36 crore on revenue of about Rs 537 crore in the year through March 2016. That compared with a net profit of Rs 10.9 crore on revenue of Rs 476 crore the year before.

Motilal Oswal Investment Advisors and Centrum Capital are managing the IPO.

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