The IPO window opens and battery maker A123 Systems gets set to jump through

09/25/2009 9:46 am EST


Jim Jubak

Founder and Editor,

The financial crisis has been hard on IPOs, the initial public offerings that young companies use to start tapping the public stock markets for capital.

In the six months after Lehman Brothers went into bankruptcy, a grand total of two companies managed to go public. In December 2007, before the financial market meltdown, nine companies went public in a single week alone.

Right now, though there are  five companies lined up to test the market for new stock offerings: Artio Global Investors (an asset management company), Seclect Medical Holdings (a hospital operator), (an online vitamin retailer), Shanda Games a Chinese online computer game company), and A123 Systems.

It's battery maker  A123 Systems that interests me the most.

The stock has a good chance to move up by 10% or more on its first day of trading. (It's not to late to ask your broker if you can get in on the IPO. But I think this one will be oversubscribed so your chances aren't great. But, hey, it never hurts to check.)

 This offering has been in the works for more than a year keeping investors who want to get in on the next generation of batteries on tenterhooks. (For more on why you want to invest in  batteries see my Setpember 8 post "Batteries, yep good old batteries, are the technology of tomorow: Here's how to invest" )

And the A123 Systems IPO is being closely watched by a bevy of other "green" startups that have been waiting to go public. The venture capital industry has pumped a considerable amount of cash into this sector--in April A123 Systems raised $69 million in it's most recent round of venture capital funding--and it has companies with technologies such as the smart-grid and networks for recharging electric cars ready to tap the public markets if the price is right.

The A123 Systems IPO is expected to price this week with trading to begin on the NASDAQ under the ticker AONE. Goldman Sachs and  Morgan Stanley are the lead underwriters for the deal. The prospectus priced shares at $8.00 to $9.50. (The final offering price is set by the underwriters' judgment of demand.) At a price of $8.75, the IPO wouild give A123 Systems, a company still reporting losses, a market capitalization of about $880 million. Exisitng investors are selling relatively few shares, 680,000 out of approximately 26 million.
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