Russia Regains its IPO Crown

Things were looking a little slow for Russian finance for a while there. No doubt many of those analysts pushing the “decoupling” argument got fired after the RTS tanked amid the credit crisis on Wall Street, and despite politicians boasting that the market was an calm oasis amid the storm, it still seems that when New York sneezes, Russia is prone to call in with a sick day. Such a gloomy outlook caused many Russian companies looking to go public to pause, delay, and sometimes cancel their flotation plans. But just when we thought the IPO bonanza from Russia was over, several huge upcoming stock issues appear set to break records – bringing back the fun of 2006 to the London Stock Exchange – minus of course the infamy of the Rosneft scandal. Of course we are talking about Globaltrans, Russia’s largest private train operator, and Rusal, the metals giant controlled by Oleg Deripaska. Today the Financial Times reports that Globaltrans has announced an expected $449 million to be raised in next week’s IPO on the LSE. The share price implies an astounding market capitalization of $1.55 billion. Rusal, on its behalf, is still vague about the date and venue of its frequently delayed IPO, but company chairman Viktor Vekselberg has recently revealed that the offering will happen before the end of the year – no doubt bolstered by the rumors of an earth-shattering merger with Norilsk. Chris Weafer thinks that Rusal’s offer could hit $10 billion. I won’t be the first to say that these are probably two very good buys.