A seasonal gift from Beijing for canny, or lucky, investors in Hong Kong. China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC), the state-owned contractor, saw its shares leap by as much as 19 per cent as it made its HKSE debut on Friday.
With Asian markets generally weak on Washington’s failure to reach a fiscal cliff deal, CMEC’s soaraway $500m initial public offering was a surprise bonus on an otherwise dull day.
That’s a nice way to end the week: PICC’s first day of trading in Hong Kong has shown that there is appetite – especially among retail investors – for a slightly underpriced IPO stock. The question is, with an opening day pop of over 7 per cent, did the company leave too much on the table?
Lean times require mean valuations. And so it is with Chinese state-owned insurer PICC Group, which has cut back the proposed price tag on its Hong Kong IPO from an original estimate of up to $30.5bn to $15.4bn-$18.2bn.
The much-delayed sale would still raise up to $3.6bn in Hong Kong’s biggest offering since AIA (also an insurer) secured $20.5bn in 2010. With cornerstone investors headed by US insurer AIG and Chinese state companies pledging $1.85bn, the deal – at its new price level – finally seems set to reach the market.
The reported decision by the People’s Insurance Company (Group) of China to limit its planned multi-billion dollar initial public offering to Hong Kong and postpone a parallel listing in Shanghai is a clear sign that the Beijing authorities are worried about the persistent weakness of the mainland stock market.
Bloomberg reported that the state-owned insurance company, which had initally planned a dual listing in the two cities, may postpone the Shanghai sale while pressing ahead in Hong Kong in October or November. If it raises as much as it originally proposed – around $6bn – it would be the third largest IPO of the year, after Facebook and Japan Airlines.