Reviving the IPO Market: A Shift in the Tides Amid Economic Uncertainty
June 15, 2023
In the face of economic ambiguity and a tightening monetary policy cycle that once slowed down public offerings, the IPO market now hints at a revival. So far this year, the U.S. has witnessed 44 Initial Public Offerings (IPOs), amassing $7.3B. These figures are soon expected to surpass last year’s record of 71 IPOs raising $7.7B, as per data from Renaissance Capital. However, this performance pales in comparison to the robust listings of 2021, when 397 IPOs generated a staggering $142.4B, suggesting that the market is yet to stage a full comeback.
A Taste of the Mediterranean: Cava Steps into the Fray
Joining the resurgence is Cava, a fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant chain that is set to test the IPO waters today amidst a return of bullish sentiment on Wall Street. The shares have been priced above range at $22 each, raising nearly $318M and valuing the company at approximately $2.45B. The firm is slated to make its debut on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “CAVA”. The raised capital from the offering will be utilized to fuel the initiation of new restaurant outlets and to address routine corporate needs such as repaying loans, infrastructure development, and investments.
The Uncertainty of Profitability: Analyst Perspectives on Cava
“While Cava isn’t currently generating profit following GAAP guidelines, the potential for significant growth is evident in the company’s impressive restaurant-level metrics as the firm expands,” states Kingdom Capital’s SA analyst. Of utmost importance is whether Cava can mirror the success trajectory and margins of Chipotle (CMG) and steer clear from the financial pitfalls experienced by Sweetgreen (SG), which took the public route in late 2021. Providing a counter viewpoint, David Trainer has issued a note of caution, citing potential red flags and echoing a warning based on a reverse discounted cash flow model and inflated valuation.
The Outlook: Reading Between the Lines of Upcoming IPOs
Several of the upcoming IPOs showcase varied fundamentals, with Cava’s set to test investor sentiment toward growth-oriented companies that are yet to turn a profit. Despite recording a net loss of $59M in fiscal 2022, an increase from the previous year’s $37.4M loss, Cava’s robust revenue growth rates and expansions into new locations have been emphasized in the filing. For investors seeking a stake in the broader Initial Public Offering market, the NYSEARCA-listed Renaissance IPO ETF (IPO) has offered a lucrative return of 32% this year, outpacing the 14% gain of the S&P 500.