BENGALURU - Bharti Hexacom's shares surged 54.4% in their trading debut on Friday, beating analysts' expectations and valuing the Indian telecom operator at 440 billion rupees ($5.28 billion).

The stock opened at 755 rupees, subsequently climbing to 880 rupees. Analysts had expected the stock to list at a 10%-15% premium on its initial public offering price of 570 rupees.

So far in 2024, 64 Indian companies have gone public, raising $2.31 billion cumulatively, compared with 42 companies that $170.6 million in the same period last year, according to LSEG data.

Seventeen of the 64 companies that went public did so on the main stock exchange. Among them, Hexacom's trading pop was the second biggest so far this year. Indian EV charger maker Exicom Tele-Systems' 93.3% surge on its trading debut in March was the biggest this year.

"The listing is beyond expectations and the movement thereafter even more surprising," said Arun Kejriwal, founder of Kejriwal Research and Investment Services.

"While Hexacom's IPO price was at a discount compared to what Airtel trades at, after the rise on the debut day, the companies seem to be at a similar valuation based on earnings, said Kejriwal. "One would wonder whether it makes sense to buy Hexacom or Airtel."

Billionaire Sunil Mittal-led Bharti Airtel, India's No.2 telecom operator by subscribers, owns 70% of Bharti Hexacom. Bharti Airtel shares fell 0.4% at 1,224.55 rupees.

While the parent company operates across India, Bharti Hexacom offers mobile, broadband and fixed-line telephone services under the "Airtel" brand in the northwestern state of Rajasthan and some parts of northeastern India.

The 42.75-billion rupee IPO, the country's largest public issue in a year, was oversubscribed 29.88 times last week.

The Tata Group's Tata Technologies and JSW Group's JSW Infrastructure also had strong debuts late last year, surging 180% and 32.2%, respectively.

($1 = 83.3750 Indian rupees) (Reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonia Cheema and Janane Venkatraman)