India: Reliance Power unplugged by inconstant investors
Anil Ambani: no longer as big as the market
February 11 was supposed to be so much fun for Anil Ambani. The billionaire younger son of the late Indian industrialist Dhirubhai had just floated his latest investment vehicle on the Mumbai stock exchange. Reliance Power’s stock sale was a cracker: sold in less than 60 seconds, its mid-January roadshow was a whopping 73 times subscribed, sucking huge chunks of liquidity from the system. Investors scrambled to buy paper linked to India’s latest infrastructure play – a company so shiny new that its valuation is based on a dozen huge power plants that won’t come online until 2012. Yet Ambani’s party, held at his plush Mumbai residence, turned out to be more wake than celebration. In the few weeks since Reliance Power’s roadshow, India’s markets tanked. The local benchmark Sensex index lost more than 20% in the five weeks to February 12. Several infrastructure-related IPOs were also pulled in early February, including Indo-Dubai real estate joint venture Emaar MGF, whose initial stock sale was slightly less than 90% subscribed when it was pulled.
By February 11, foreign and local investors had almost wholly fled the markets, leaving Reliance at the mercy of the bears.