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Russian IPOs to diversify despite numbers slump

Emerging markets have not responded well to the recent wobble of international stock markets. But if IPO activity can be considered as an indicator for economic expectations in a market, investors still have plenty of confidence in wide-ranging growth in Russia.

Insiders acknowledge that the IPO pipeline is not at its peak. “The market is not as strong as it used to be a couple of months ago,” says an analyst at Renaissance Capital. “During the rest of the year, we might see five to 10 sizeable international transactions, and some smaller ones,” says Gergely Voros, managing director, global capital markets, at Morgan Stanley. But he adds: “It is still a very exciting market despite fewer transactions.”

Reinout Koopmans, co-head of Cema equity capital markets at Deutsche Bank, is equally positive. He argues that, as long as oil prices remain at current levels, fundamentals will remain strong. Koopmans does expect IPO activity in the second half of the year to be at the same level as the first. “My schedule is still very busy,” he says.

The Rosneft transaction has attracted the most attention. Speculation that the IPO might drain away liquidity for other transactions seems unfounded, as investors are looking to diversify. “Anything outside commodities is welcome,” says Koopmans.

Apart from commodities, he expects the main activity for the rest of the year to be in retail and real estate, with the banking and insurance sector to become more active in 2007.

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