Industry cautious on public financings right now

About one-third of the CFOs questioned believed that the volatility and financial instability on the market would continue until the end of the year.

tase building 88 298 (photo credit: Courtesy  Photo)
tase building 88 298
(photo credit: Courtesy Photo)
Given global conditions in the wake of the credit crisis engulfing markets, more than half of local industrial companies say they are not planning to make public offerings before year-end. "About 52 percent of chief financial officers in industry companies believe that the market is not attractive for public offerings and are not recommending that offerings be made until the end of this year," said Pinchas Kimmelman, chairman of the CFO Forum of Financial Officers at the Manufacturers' Association of Israel referring to a survey conducted among CFOs. "Therefore, it is likely that the execution of public offerings will be delayed." Kimmelman added that about 19% of the surveyed CFOs believed that now was the right time to make public offerings, while 29% were unsure about the attractiveness of making public offerings this year. "There is an understanding in the market that the conditions of raising money have changed and market players are being more rational, which means that some people are putting their plans on freeze," said a senior executive at a leading local underwriting firm. "Today it is almost impossible to issue bonds without credit rating while risk premiums are very high and, as such, volumes are expected to be much lower." According to figures from the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, 91 public offerings were executed in the first eight months of the year generating a volume of NIS 11.2 billion, boosted mainly by the public offering of state-owned Oil Refineries (Bazan) which brought in NIS 6.7b. Last year, 87 public offerings were made raising a total volume of NIS 5.2b. This year, the stock exchange received over 150 requests for public financing offerings on the basis of 2007 first-quarter financial results. The Manufacturers' survey found that 62% of the CFOs estimated that the instability on the Israeli stock market was temporary, representing a market correction, with only 2% explaining it as a market crash, while 33% were not able to evaluate the reasoning for the instability on the local market. About one-third of the CFOs questioned believed that the volatility and financial instability on the market would continue until the end of the year, while 25% reckoned that the declines would continue for another two weeks and 24% were of the opinion that the situation would uphold for at least another month. Kimmelman, who is also deputy CEO at Osem Foods, added that 82% of the CFOs did not think that there was a financial bubble on the TASE, while 18% believed there was. Furthermore 67% of the CFOs surveyed asserted that there was still potential in the stock market and that market players should adopt a "waiting" strategy - that is, don't move in or out. At the same time, 10% of those questioned maintained that the current market situation offered a buying opportunity for equities, while 14% recommended selling off shares and 10% were uncertain about what strategy to adopt.