World's Second Biggest IPO This Year Debuts Higher
Japan's second-largest soft drinks company, Suntory Beverage and Food, opened 0.6 percent higher at its debut on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Wednesday.
Shares of the company, whose brands include Orangina and BOSS coffee, opened at 3,120 yen ($31) a piece, and traded as high as 3,195 yen, or gains of 3 percent. The parent company's alcohol and beer unit was not included in the initial public offering (IPO).
Suntory priced its food and soft drinks unit at 3,100 yen ($31.68) per share, at the bottom end of a 3,000-3,800 yen range after raising nearly $4 billion in what is Asia's biggest IPO so far this year.
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Suntory's listing is also the second-largest globally after a $5 billion listing of Brazilian financial services firm Seguridade Participacoes in April.
But its valuations are raising concerns among analysts. The IPO price placed Suntory Beverage's price-to-earnings ratio at 23 based on its 2013 profit forecast, according to data from Reuters.
In comparison, Suntory's rivals Kirin and Asahi have price-to-earnings ratio of 16 and 17.8 respectively.
"The valuations are pretty high so there's a limit as to how much the stock will rise from here. Frankly, as a firm we did not participate in the IPO because we thought it was a little pricey," said Fuyuki Fujiwara, fund manager at Nezu Asia Capital Management on CNBC Asia's "The Call."
Analysts say the listing will be a litmus test for how much sentiment has changed in the last year since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe came on board.
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"The question is will domestic retail investors and institutional investors start to return to the Tokyo market in size. We think it's a good sign that there is very heavy trading early on," said Ed Rogers, CEO of Rogers Investment Advisors on CNBC Asia's "Squawk Box."
Rogers was positive that Suntory's debut bodes well for Tokyo's share market.
"Institutional investors may be a little shy on this offering, but we continue to think that we're in a 2 to 4-year uptick for the Japanese equity markets," he said.
Another reason for the stock's positive performance was a weaker yen. The Japanese currency breached the key 100-level against the U.S. dollar overnight for the first time since June 5 and underpinned sentiment on the benchmark Nikkei index.
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"Many overseas intuitions are still underweight Japan – they need to get involved in the market. I think the trend is pretty positive so here's a very liquid way for them to get involved," added Fujiwara.
The Nikkei has returned to its uptrend in the first week of July after several weeks of volatility, notching up gains of nearly 3 percent for the week so far.
— By CNBC.com's Nyshka Chandran. Follow her on Twitter