OzForex surges 30 pct in debut, Australia IPO appetite strong

October 11, 2013

* Shares rises as high as A$2.62 vs A$2.00 issue price

* Australia IPO market heats up after sluggish period

* Investment bank, private equity owners exit in IPO

SYDNEY, Oct 11 (Reuters) - OzForex Group jumped 30 percent in its market debut on Friday, highlighting a resurgence in demand for new offerings in Australia as well as hopes that the foreign exchange broking industry is heading for a turnaround.

Having ground to a halt in 2011 and 2012, Australia's IPO market is staging a comeback this year, with offerings expected to rebound to levels not seen since the financial crisis.

"There is definitely an appetite there," said Evan Lucas, a market strategist IG Markets. "It means the market has recovered, people are starting to look for risk, are starting to look for capital movement which they haven't seen for the last three years."

OzForex, which raised A$440 million ($416 million) in Australia's largest IPO this year, traded as high as A$2.62 compared with its offer price of A$2.00.

The online currency specialist earns its income from fees it charges to conduct foreign exchange transactions.

"(The forex broking industry) has been a tough market for quite a while, and for them to have a such a strong get-away, shows there is certainly a demand and a belief that the markets are going to improve in coming years, and therefore their earnings are going to justify," Lucas said.

Other listings this year include Australian media and entertainment company Nine Entertainment Co Pty Ltd , which is expected to raise around $1.1 billion.

Investment bank Macquarie Group, funds associated with venture capital firm Accel Partners and funds associated with U.S. private equity firm Carlyle Group sold out of OzForex as part of the IPO, according to the company's prospectus.

Macquarie and Goldman Sachs were joint-managers on the listing.

Ozforex recorded a net profit of A$17.1 million in its business year ended March 31, 2013, and projects a net profit of A$18.6 million for the year to March 2014.