Hong Kong has priced the first public float in the world to raise more than $1bn in 2016, marking the slowest start to a year for initial public offerings since the financial crisis in 2009.
Hong Kong is top of the global rankings after China’s Zheshang Bank yesterday raised $1.7bn from its IPO.
So far IPOs globally have raised $12.8bn, according to Dealogic — one-third of last year’s total by this point — as January’s market turmoil rattled investor nerves.
The New York Stock Exchange has not seen a single listing so far this year — its second longest drought on record after the period following the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008.
The Hong Kong Stock Exchange has raised $3.5bn in total so far this year, putting it ahead of London with $1.8bn and Nasdaq with $1.2bn.
But bankers cautioned against reading too much into the 2016 success of Hong Kong. Most of the capital raised has been for Chinese regional bank offerings — a sector that often relies on mainland support more than interest from international investors.
Rising bad debts have pushed China’s banks to seek capital in recent years. Three regional banks listed in December, raising a combined $2.3bn, and, in addition to the Zheshang offering, Bank of Tianjin this week priced its IPO at $948m.
Both the Zheshang and Tianjin deals priced near the low end of their ranges and both also allotted more than half their total books to so-called cornerstones — investors that accept six-month lock-ups in return for large stakes.
“[Cornerstone] deals are fairly binary and often not distributed widely, since if they’re held tightly, marginal demand can lift the shares after IPO,” said one banker.
Cornerstones used to be a means of attracting interest by attaching marquee names to a prospectus. More recently, however, many Chinese listings in Hong Kong, particularly state-owned groups, have relied on what bankers have dubbed “friends and family” such as fellow state owned enerprises, to bolster IPO order books.
Bankers are, however, hopeful that the recent market rally may help stabilise investor appetite, or at least provide the setting for what one Hong Kong specialist called “windows of opportunity” in the coming months.
近年来，坏账比例提高促使中国的银行寻求更多资本。去年12月，三家地区性银行上市，共融资23亿美元。除了浙商银行，天津银行(Bank of Tianjin)本周也进行了IPO定价，融资9.48亿美元。