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IPO Roundup: Bookham makes sparkling debut

Bookham Technology (Nasdaq: BKHMV) closed up 32 7/8, or 219 percent, to 47 7/8 Tuesday in its initial public offering.

Bookham priced its American Depository Receipts (ADRs) at $15.83 a share. The company, which makes integrated chips for optical networking, had planned to price shares between $12.50 and $15.70 each.

It has that magic word "optical," said Kenan Pollack of IPO Central, who expects the deal to do well considering its one of the few ways to invest in pure optical networking. Investors can get a piece of this hot sector with bigger companies such as Lucent (NYSE: LU) and Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO), but otherwise, their only other choices are Sycamore Networks (Nasdaq: SCMR) and Avanex (Nasdaq: AVNX).

Bookham is also posting some good numbers, Pollack said. The British-based company had $5.7 million in sales for 1999, a 507 percent increase over 1999's sales. Net loss for the year was $26 million.

Demand for optical network components is huge, and Bookham has major customers such as E-Tek Dynamics (Nasdaq: ETEK), Nortel (NYSE: NT), and Scientific-Atlanta (NYSE: SFA).

Bookham's main competitors include JDS Uniphase (Nasdaq: JDSU) and Lucent. Goldman Sachs is the lead underwriter for its IPO.

  • Another foreign-based offering, Nova Measuring Instruments (Nasdaq: NVMI) closed up 3 5/16 to 21 5/16 in its debut. The maker of process control systems for use in semiconductor manufacturing priced its 3 million shares at $18 each, the bottom of its range of $18 to $20 a share.

    Nova makes optical systems that measure the thickness of semiconductors during critical steps in chip manufacturing.

    The company is expected to do well, as its "twin", Camtek (Nasdaq: CAMT), which will also debut this week. Both process equipment makers have around 200 employees, had fiscal 1999 revenue in the mid-twenty-millions, and are Israeli-based.

    "These are the companies that power the Intels (Nasdaq: INTC) and Nortels of the world; there's good upside for them," said Pollack. Pollack compared the company to Radvision (Nasdaq: RVSN), another Israeli offering in the communications equipment market that made a successful debut this year.

    Nova had net income of $5 million on revenue of $26 million for 1999. Venture capital firm Clal Electronics Industries will own 19 percent of the company following its IPO.

    Chase H&Q was the lead underwriter.

  • After being postponed last week, HealthStream Inc. (Nasdaq: HSTM) made a sickly debut; the company's 5 million shares fell 1/2 to 8 1/2 in its first trading day.

    The company, in conjunction with medical institutions, distributes education and training content over the Internet to doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals.

    The IPO's lead underwriter is Robertson Stephens.