Hong Kong IPO activity picking up after quiet Aug

Hong Kong badly needs more deals. With only US$10.8 billion raised through IPOs so far, it ranks fourth among global exchanges.
Hong Kong badly needs more deals. With only US$10.8 billion raised through IPOs so far, it ranks fourth among global exchanges.PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG • After the quietest month in more than six years, initial public offering (IPO) activity is finally picking up in Hong Kong.

Just one company, Hands Form Holdings, went public in the financial hub last month with a tiny HK$130 million (S$23 million) IPO.

The last time only one company listed in Hong Kong in a whole month was in April 2013, data compiled by Bloomberg shows.

While it is not unusual for the summer months to be quiet, with many bankers and investors on vacation, last month's launches were particularly sedate as the city's ongoing protests and an escalating trade war between China and the United States dented investor sentiment.

Activity is now gathering pace, with one company, Shanghai Henlius Biotech, on the road gauging investor demand for an initial share sale that could raise at least US$600 million (S$832.4 million), sources said.

Czech consumer finance company Home Credit had a hearing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange listing committee last Thursday, sources said, meaning it could also start assessing investor demand soon.

Bank of Guizhou also plans to start pre-marketing a Hong Kong IPO of up to US$1 billion as early as this week, IFR Asia reported, citing unidentified sources close to the deal.

Hong Kong badly needs more deals. With only US$10.8 billion raised through IPOs so far, it ranks fourth among global exchanges.

This time last year, companies had raised US$24.3 billion in Hong Kong IPOs, although last year was also considered a blockbuster.

Elsewhere, things are getting busy in South-east Asia.

Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi is weighing investor demand for an IPO of property business Asset World Corp, sources familiar with the matter said.

Meanwhile, Australia's Lendlease Group plans to start pre-marketing a real estate investment trust IPO of up to $750 million in Singapore this week, IFR Asia reported, citing unidentified sources with knowledge of the proposed transaction.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 02, 2019, with the headline 'Hong Kong IPO activity picking up after quiet Aug'. Print Edition | Subscribe