Hong Kong bourse wants IPO hopefuls to disclose virus impact

HONG KONG • Hong Kong's stock exchange has told companies looking to list in Asia's biggest initial public offering (IPO) centre to disclose the impact of the coronavirus on their businesses and detail plans to mitigate the effects, three sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Eighteen companies have filed for an IPO since the start of last month when the Hong Kong authorities and companies began taking steps to limit the spread of the virus.

Malaysian software developer C-Link Squared, the latest company to file for an IPO, referenced the coronavirus 34 times in its listing application following the stock exchange's demand, documents showed.

IPOs are big business in Hong Kong. The city saw US$25 billion (S$35 billion) raised through them last year, without including the US$12.9 billion from Alibaba's secondary listing, placing the exchange third globally behind New York's Nasdaq and the Saudi Exchange, according to Refintiv data.

However, the number of deals completed in the past five weeks has slowed sharply.

Three sources told Reuters the stock exchange has asked five questions of companies looking to go public.

These centre on detailing any supply chain disruptions, business contingency plans and the burn rate of existing cash balances in a worst-case scenario where the group's operations are suspended.

REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 05, 2020, with the headline Hong Kong bourse wants IPO hopefuls to disclose virus impact. Subscribe