IPOs – Good or Bad? Here’s What You Need to Know Before Investing

When you’re considering investing, IPOs—initial public offerings—can seem like a tantalizing opportunity. The chance to invest in a company’s growth story right from the beginning can be incredibly appealing. However, like any investment, IPOs come with their own set of uncertainties and challenges.

Understanding these potential risks, knowing how to evaluate a new IPO, and having a clear idea about what you’re getting into can make a significant difference in your investing journey. 

So let’s explore the world of IPOs together and uncover the critical elements you need to consider before deciding to invest in IPOs.

Understanding Initial Public Offerings (IPOs)

An initial public offering (IPO) is a process by which a privately held company offers its shares to the public for the first time.

This transformation from private to public usually involves several steps:

●  The company decides to go public and starts the process with the appointment of investment bankers or underwriters.

●  The company files a draft red herring prospectus with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for approval.

●  Upon receiving approval from SEBI, the company decides on the price band and the date of the IPO.

●  Once the IPO is open, the public can bid for the shares within the price band.

●  Based on the demand, the final price is fixed, and shares are allotted to the successful bidders.

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Why do companies go public?

Companies choose to go public for a variety of reasons, including:

Raising Capital: An IPO is an effective way to raise substantial capital for the company’s growth and expansion plans.

Visibility and Credibility: Being listed on a stock exchange can significantly enhance a company’s visibility and lend it credibility, potentially attracting more customers and business partners.

Liquidity for Shareholders: For existing shareholders, including the company’s employees and early investors, an IPO provides an opportunity to sell their shares and turn their investments into cash.

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Benefits of Investing in IPOs

 Investing in a company’s IPO can offer several potential benefits:

High Return Potential: If the company performs well, early investors can reap significant returns. A notable example is the IPO of Infosys Ltd, where an investment of INR 9,500 in 1993 would be worth INR 5.78 crores today.

Part of the Growth Story: IPOs give investors an opportunity to be a part of the company’s growth story from the very beginning.

Portfolio Diversification: Investing in IPOs can add another layer of diversification to your investment portfolio. 

Investing in a new IPO does seem appealing, doesn’t it? But don’t rush in just yet. Let’s look at the other side of the coin – the risks involved in investing in IPOs.

Risks of Investing in IPOs

While IPOs can offer high rewards, they come with their share of risks:

Market Volatility and Price Uncertainty: The price of a new IPO can be volatile, especially in the initial days after listing. If the market doesn’t favour the IPO, you could face substantial losses.

Lack of Historical Data: Unlike established publicly traded companies, IPOs lack a track record of public trading, which can make it challenging to evaluate the investment.

Over-Valuation Risks: Due to the hype and speculation around an IPO, there’s a risk of over-valuation, where the company’s actual worth is less than the price investors are paying.

How to Evaluate an IPO – A Step-by-Step Guide 

Making an informed decision to invest in IPOs involves a meticulous evaluation:

  1. Read the Red Herring Prospectus: This document, available on the SEBI’s website, gives comprehensive information about the company and the IPO.
  2. Evaluate the Company’s Management: Assess the company’s leadership team, their experience, and their past performance.
  3. Compare with Industry Peers: How does the company compare with its peers regarding profitability, growth, and valuation?
  4. Use Valuation Metrics and Ratios: Tools like price-to-earnings ratio (P/E), price-to-sales ratio (P/S), and return on equity (ROE) can help evaluate the IPO price. So try to read about the previous performances of the company.

Mitigating Risks and Maximising Returns 

To navigate the risks of investing in a new IPO, consider the following:

Diversification: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify your investments across different companies and sectors.

Long-term Perspective: Invest with a long-term perspective. Market volatility can lead to short-term losses, but over the long term, good companies tend to deliver solid returns.

Avoid the Temptation of Listing Gains: While the prospect of making quick money can be enticing, it’s crucial to resist this temptation. Investing based on solid research and a long-term perspective is generally a safer strategy.

Concluding Thoughts: Are IPOs Good or Bad?

Remember, investing, especially in SIP Investment, is not about chasing the latest trends but about making informed decisions that align with your financial goals. Make sure you do your homework and understand the business of the company well before you decide to invest in IPOs. In India, strategic SIP investments can complement your portfolio by offering a disciplined approach to wealth creation.

Sonali Roy
Sonali Roy


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