Health Care Provides Glimmer of IPO Light –

Not a single venture-backed company made it public in August. Zilch. The total number of venture-backed initial public offerings for the year remains at 19 and the total combined offering amount remains at $2.19 billion. During August of 2001, two venture-backed companies went public, raising a combined $308 million. The average size of each new issue this year is $111 million, up from an average of $74 million at the same time last year.

The aftermarket continues to be brutal for new issues. Of the 36 venture-backed companies that went public between September 2001 and August 2002, more than half were trading below their initial public offering prices. Four companies showed price increases of 68% or greater through August, down from five companies in July. Of the four largest gainers, three were involved in health-care services.

Odyssey HealthCare, which provides hospice care to terminally ill patients, held onto the top slot, which it has held since March, doubling the price of its stock since its IPO in October 2001. It was followed by Centene, a provider of managed health care to Medicaid recipients, which has seen its stock price jump 90% from its IPO price in December. At No. 3 was HMO operator Amerigroup, with a 76% increase. The No. 4 slot was held by PayPal, Inc., an online payment service that continues to defy anti-Internet sentiment, with a 68% increase from its IPO price.