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Irrational investors: a contrast of Duoyuan Printing and STR Holdings IPOs

|Includes: Duoyuan Printing, Inc. (DYP), FSLR, STRI
Two IPOs debut with exactly opposite results attracted my attention last Friday: Duoyuan Printing (NYSE:DYP), a fast growing Chinese offset-printing equipment manufacturer, to sell 5.5M shares at $8.5, whose stock closed down 8.6% at $7.77. The other is STR Holdings (NYSE:STRI), a manufacturer of encapsulants for solar panels, to sell 12.3 million shares at $10 a share, whose stock closed up 31% at $13.10.
Since I did look into both companies before their IPOs, I find this outcome very interesting.
In my opinion, Duoyuan Printing (DYP) is a very sweet deal at the $8.5 offer price, let alone $7.77. My previous post here details why.
STR Holdings (STRI), although appears to be attactive from its roadshow presentation, actually has a few things that make me frown, after I dig deeper into its prospectus:
- The company had a net tangible asset of ($5.72) per share, totaling $(223.4) million, prior to the IPO. For those who don’t know accounting, this means if the company is liquidated today, the shareholders won’t get anything back, as it actually owes more than its asset. Would this prevent me from investing in a company? No necessarily. But I'll be very cautious. 
- 73% of the total shares sold, or 9 million shares, came from selling shareholders including the executives, so the company only gets 27% of the total IPO proceeds. When the private owners and executives are eager to sell, I’ll be cautious buying into it.
- The solar segment revenue declined 26% in the first half of 2009. Although impacted by the financial crisis, the world output of solar panels still grows in 2009, due to government stimulus all over the world. I would imagine the output of solar panel encapsulants be highly correlated with the output of the panels. Such a big decline in revenue concerns me.
The following table sums up some simple facts of the two IPOs, without getting much into the valuation of both stocks.

Strictly speaking, these two companies are not comparable, as they belong to two totally different industries. However, I find this table quite helpful and revealing. 
Duoyuan Printing appears to have a much stronger balance sheet, with no debt, while STR Holdings has tons of debt. Although both companies presented an appealing growth story: Duoyuan Printing’s seems to be more consistent, while STR Holdings experienced some recent decline in revenue not very well explained. No shares are to be sold by the executives of Duoyuan printing, while all executives at STR Holdings are selling some shares. Surprisingly, it was Duoyuan Printing that fell on the day of IPO, while STR Holdings went up 30%. 

Was Duoyuan Printing priced too high and STR Holdings priced attractively? The answer is still no. Duoyuan Printing is a growth stock very attractively priced. STR Holdings’ prospectus shows it earned $6.2M in the first half of 2009, and its market capitalization is $549M. Even assuming the earning improves in the second half 2009, it doesn’t appear to be cheap, noting that right now even a well established solar stock like First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) is only trading at 16x 2009 earnings.

It is puzzling for me to see that the investors shunned an attractive Duoyuan Printing, but were brave enough to jump into STR Holdings. I hope people do know what they were buying into, not just for the hot “solar” tag on it.

Disclosure: Long DYP, no positions in STRI, FSLR