Despite the growing nervousness in the global financial markets, a large jewellery company based in Hong Kong is set to stage one of the largest initial public offerings this year, with a listing that could raise as much as $3 billion or more next month.
Chow Tai Fook Jewellery is offering 1.05 billion shares at 15 Hong Kong dollars to 21 Hong Kong dollars each, a person with direct knowledge of the transaction said on Friday.
At the upper end of that range, the proceeds would total 21.05 billion Hong Kong dollars, or $2.7 billion – an amount that could still rise by as much as 15 percent, to about $3.25 billion, if solid demand allows the company to sell more shares, according to this person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the details were not yet public.
This would make the listing the biggest so far in Hong Kong this year, and one of the largest in the world so far this year. Nervousness over the escalating debt crisis in Europe and feeble growth in the United States has undermined investor sentiment this year and caused new-issue volumes to slump.
Although little known in the West, the family-owned Chow Tai Fook is a giant in the jewellery business.
It has more than 1,500 outlets, nearly all in Hong Kong, mainland China, Taiwan and the former Portuguese colony of Macao, and far outstrips rivals like Cartier and Tiffany’s, which, like many other Western luxury companies, have been racing to step up their presence in the rapidly growing Chinese market in recent years.
Asia’s rising share in consumer and luxury spending is also prompting Western companies to seek stock market listings in the region.
The Italian luxury retailer Prada listed in Hong Kong earlier this year, and Graff Diamonds, a jeweler based in London, is considering listing in Hong Kong next year, top executives from the company said last week.
The road show for Chow Tai Fook’s listing is set to start on Monday, with a trading start in December. Chow Tai Fook declined to comment on Friday.-By BETTINA WASSENER
Category: Hong Kong