It seems that a new finance sector star has been born. On Friday, shares of specialty payment solutions provider Shift4 Payments (NYSE:FOUR) soared on their first day of trading, a day after the company launched its initial public offering (IPO). From a higher-than-expected IPO price of $23, the stock rocketed to close the day at $33.54.
All told, Shift4 reaped $345 million in gross proceeds in the IPO. In the issue's prospectus, the company says it will utilize its share of these funds to retire debt and for "general corporate purposes."
This splashy debut will be seen by some as a general vote of confidence in the finance sector, which has come under strain from the economic difficulties arising from the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus outbreak. Investors don't seem to mind that Shift4's clients, mainly businesses in the hospitality and food and beverage sectors, have had an especially tough time during the pandemic, or that it has furloughed around 25% of its employees.
Like many companies new to the stock market, Shift4 is currently loss-making but has shown encouraging revenue growth recently.
It's also one of only a handful of companies to launch an IPO during the coronavirus pandemic. This was likely a factor in the popularity of its shares on their first day of trading; other "lockdown IPOs" have also performed very well subsequent to their debuts.
However, Shift4 admits in the "risk factors" section of its prospectus that "[s]ubstantial and increasingly intense competition worldwide in the financial services, payments, and payment technology industries may adversely affect our overall business and operations."