UPDATE 1-S.Korea's CJ Hellovision slips on debut in weak IPO market

SEOUL Thu Nov 8, 2012 9:05pm EST

SEOUL Nov 9 (Reuters) - South Korean cable television group CJ Hellovision fell more than 4 percent on its market debut on Friday, underscoring weak demand for new offerings during a sluggish year for local IPOs.

Despite pricing South Korea's largest IPO in almost 18 months near the bottom of an indicative range at 16,000 won, the country's biggest cable television operator sagged to 15,300 won at the start of trading.

The company raised $267 million through the offer of 18.3 million shares, but its disappointing start was expected after it failed to win over retail investors.

Only about 26 percent of the 3.7 million shares allocated to retail investors had found buyers by end of a two-day subscription period on November 1.

"Not only is it difficult for retail investors to understand the industry dynamics of [cable TV operation], but retail investors' participation had already been dwindling due to market conditions," said Gene Park, media sector analyst at Woori Investment & Securities.

He said low retail subscription appeared to have hurt institutional investors' sentiment as well.

Predictions of a poor start for CJ Hellovision appear to have also pressured at least one smaller local offering to adjust its pricing.

Car parts maker GMB Korea Corp on Tuesday priced its $31 million IPO at 6,000 won per share, 17 percent below the bottom end of the 7,600-9,200 won indicative range.

However, among imminent larger offerings, POSCO Specialty Steel was currently going ahead as planned, without reducing the number of shares offered or postponing its offering, a company official said on Wednesday.

POSCO Specialty Steel is planning an up to $424 million offering, which is expected to be priced after the bookbuild ends on Nov. 29.

Two companies reviewing larger offerings, Hyundai Rotem and SK Lubricants, have picked advisors but do not yet have a set timetable for an offering, spokesmen for the two companies said.

CJ Hellovision's weak start comes toward the end of a slow year for IPOs in South Korea, with companies raising just $827 million so far in 2012, compared with $2.3 billion last year.

CJ Hellovision is controlled by South Korean conglomerate CJ Group through its CJ O Shopping unit.

JPMorgan was global coordinator for the offer, with Daewoo Securities and HI Securities also acting as bookrunners. (Additional reporting by Elzio Barreto; Editing by Richard Pullin)

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