IPO plans in Asia light up gloomy market

HONG KONG • A few companies in Hong Kong, India and Singapore are drawing attention with their seemingly adventurous initial public offering (IPO) plans in an inhospitable global market, but their fund-raising mission is less foolhardy than it looks.

Interior designer LC Group and construction firm Leap Holdings are meeting investors in Hong Kong to pitch their offerings.

In India, logistics firm Navkar Corp is marketing its IPO, while Prabhat Dairy is launching its share sale this week.

In Singapore, Jiangxi Jiangling Chassis, a maker of motor vehicle parts, is drawing up plans to tap the equity market.

The deals are small - up to US$241 million (S$337.2 million) in total. But their compactness means bankers need fewer investors to fill order books. Smaller offerings also tend to attract retail investors.

But what about the bigger deals? On the radar are a series of sizeable offerings including those of China Reinsurance, China Huarong Asset Management and Taikang Life Insurance.

They would need a big group of institutional investors and an army of retail investors to help take their billion-dollar deals over the finish-line. The companies are slated to launch their IPOs by the end of the year.

Concerns about a prolonged Chinese economic slowdown and fears over volatile shares could force some companies to delay their deals, stunting the run of IPOs this year.

So far this year, IPO issuance in the Asia-Pacific has jumped nearly 25 per cent from last year to US$44.5 billion.

The real test - bankers and analysts say - will be when and if sizeable offerings move ahead in coming weeks.

"A lot of deals will need to be put on hold under these market circumstances," said Mr Jasper Chan, corporate finance officer at Hong Kong brokerage Phillip Securities. "Markets won't recover that soon, not this month.

" Next year, it will get better, but this year, I think there's a lot of uncertainty around the world. It's not easy to forecast what's coming," he said.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 26, 2015, with the headline 'IPO plans in Asia light up gloomy market'. Print Edition | Subscribe