S.Korea's LG Energy Solution sees record retail demand for IPO

FILE PHOTO: LG Energy Solution's logo is pictured on a smartphone in front of their website displayed in this illustration taken December 4, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

SEOUL (Reuters) -Retail investors bid for a record 114 trillion won ($96 billion) worth of shares in the IPO of South Korean battery maker LG Energy Solution (LGES), adding to the frenzy for a piece of the biggest public offering in the country.

Some 4.4 million individual investors ensured the retail portion of the initial public offering (IPO) was oversubscribed nearly 70 times at the end of the two-day bidding period on Wednesday, according LGES.

The demand beat the previous record of battery material maker SK IE Technology Co Ltd (SKIET), which drew 81 trillion won of public subscriptions last year.

Last week, LGES priced the offering at top of the indicative marketing range to raise $10.8 billion, making it South Korea's biggest and Asia's third-largest IPO.

LGES continues the trend of robust demand for IPOs from South Korean retail investors - known as "ants" - as government stimulus efforts to bolster the economy after the coronavirus crisis have flooded markets with cash.

"I decided to subscribe to LGES IPO shares after seeing reports of the LGES IPO attracting lots of bids from retail investors. I also thought I might be missing out on this opportunity to make quick money if I don't bid for this," said Lee, an office worker in Seoul.

LGES, which commands more than 20% of the global electric vehicle battery market and supplies Tesla Inc, General Motors Co and Volkswagen AG among others, had set aside about 25% of the total shares on offer for retail bidders, according to Reuters calculations.

The retail demand comes after the company last week attracted bids worth about $12.8 trillion, also a record, from a total of 1,988 domestic and foreign institutional investors, its filings showed.

The company is expected to list on Jan. 27.

The IPO price values LGES at about 70.2 trillion won ($60 billion) and will make it South Korea's third most-valuable company after Samsung Electronics Co and SK Hynix Inc.

Some South Korean brokerages saw a dramatic jump in the number of newly created accounts by retail investors as a result of the demand.

KB Securities, one of the main bookrunners on the deal along with Morgan Stanley, said it saw an almost 200% increase in the number of newly created accounts between Jan. 1 and Jan. 10, compared with the same period a month ago.

($1 = 1,192.9000 won)

(Reporting by Heekyong Yang and Scott MurdochEditing by Louise Heavens and Mark Potter)

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