Maritime Capital IPO latest casualty of jittery markets

MARITIME Capital Shipping’s planned initial public offering in Singapore has become the latest victim of uncertain global financial markets.

The Hong Kong-based handysize bulk owner canned its IPO today, blaming deteriorating global financial markets.

The company headed by former Pacific Basin chief Mark Harris made the announcement after completing an international roadshow to investors, but prior to pricing the offering.

“We received very strong support and validation from institutional investors for our company, our business plan and our strategy,” Mr Harris said.

“Unfortunately, the performance of global equity markets has deteriorated sharply in the last few days and equity markets have closed for IPOs, regardless of the underlying fundamentals of the company,” he said.

Yesterday the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed more than 20% below its October 2007 peak, a level usually taken to signify a bear market.

The company had been looking to raise in the region of $300m to expand its fleet from 18 handysize vessels at present to up to 30 by 2009.

As to whether the company would look to revive the IPO at later stage and the impact of the cancellation on its future plans, Mr Harris said: “The company will keep a close watch on equity market conditions as one of the options available to it for its long term growth objectives.

“The company’s business remains strong, is growing quickly and, with the full support of its existing shareholders, the company remains confident about its future prospects.”

MCS is the second Hong Kong shipowner to pull back from an IPO in the space of a month.

In early June Wah Kwong Maritime Transport put its $160m planned listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on ice citing uncertainty in the financial markets.