After Cutting I.P.O. Price, SolarCity Leaps in First Day of Trading

After Cutting I.P.O. Price, SolarCity Leaps in First Day of Trading

5:00 p.m. | Updated

SolarCity may not have raised as much in its initial public offering than it had once hoped. But at its lowered offering price, the solar power company found more than a few takers.

During the first day of trading, the company’s stock jumped as much as 59 percent. The stock closed on Thursday at $ 11.79, or 47.4 percent above its offering price of $ 8. That valued SolarCity at $ 861 million.

The strong market debut followed a few days of difficulty for SolarCity and its underwriters, none of whom fully prepared for issues in bringing a clean technology company to market.

SolarCity, whose backers include Tesla’s founder, Elon Musk, prides itself on being different from other companies in the solar sector. It finances and installs rooftop solar systems in exchange for long-term monthly payments from its customers and prefers to think of itself as an energy company, rather than just a solar company. The solar leases typically run 20 years.

That differentiation appears not to have been completely embraced by potential shareholders.

As recently as Tuesday, SolarCity expected to raise as much as $ 151 million, at a price of $ 13 to $ 15 a share. But Mr. Rive and his advisers found that while investors were interested in the company and its business prospects, they weren’t particularly hungry about taking on a lot of risk. The company eventually raised about $ 92 million.

“I feel the mistake that we made is that we underestimated the battle scars that the financial institutions had in the clean tech sector,” Lyndon Rive, SolarCity’s chief executive, said by telephone on Thursday.

“If not for the differences in the business model, there’s no way we would have succeeded.”

That prompted the company to try to reset of their expectations. Because the new price was going to be well below previous public guidance, Mr. Rive said, SolarCity was obligated to push back its offering by a day.

“I still think this would have been a very good deal at $ 15,” he said. “But there was a lot of demand at $ 8.”


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