New Cleantech IPO’s Hit Market

Two U.S. clean tech companies have gone public as the industry hopes high energy prices and better technology will make investors forget the sector’s recent struggles. So reports Reuters.

The newly public companies include Petaluma, Calif.-based solar inverter company Enphase Energy, which priced its shares at $6 and sold 9 million; and Golden, Colo.-based clean fuel company Luca Technologies, which was looking to raise about $100 million by selling 8.5 million shares at a range of $11 to $13 a share.

Trash-to-biofuel company Enerkem and solar thermal company BrightSource Energy also recently set the terms for their public offerings, Reuters says.

The IPOs could pave the way for similar offerings, analysts told Reuters.

The sector is still suffering the aftermath of the bankruptcies of solar-panel maker Solyndra and energy storage company Beacon Power. Shares of other clean tech companies have performed poorly in their wake, for example. In addition, sluggish economic recovery is not boosting enthusiasm for emerging industries, Reuters says.

However, investor interest is slowly returning, thanks to new companies that have matured further than those that came before them and then failed. And backers are looking for companies with proven technology and solid business plans before they invest.

High oil prices are also helping create opportunities for deals, Reuters says.

In 2011, there were 54 clean tech IPOs, which raised a total of $9.6 billion, according to clean tech research firm Kachan & Co., Reuters says.

Additional IPOs in 2012 are likely to come from industries like smart-grid network providers, LED lighting companies and energy-efficient material makers. The upcoming IPOs will further test the waters, Reuters says.

According to The Street, the last solar companies that went public – back in 2010 – wouldn’t survive today.

It says Enphase is in a niche in the solar market that has been booming as of late. However, top-line growth may not be sustainable because so much recent growth in the U.S. market was pushed by the section 1603 cash grant program.

Further, Enphase reduced its IPO range, which proves investors have let the underwriters know they’re still a bit skeptical, The Street adds.

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