Second IPO below target as economy slows: China Overnight

30-Apr-2012 Intellasia | Bloomberg | 7:05 AM Print This Post

Acquity Group Ltd (AQ) became the second Chinese company in 2012 to raise less than planned in a US share sale as a slowing economy and accounting concerns sent New York-traded stocks lower in the past year.

Acquity, a Hong Kong-based online advertising company, slipped 0.7 percent to $5.96 by 1:02 p.m. on its first day of trading in New York, after raising 40 percent less that targeted in its initial public offering. The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index (CH55BN) of the most-traded Chinese stocks listed in the US, gained 0.5 percent to 103.84 and is headed for a fourth weekly jump, paring its 13 percent tumble in the past 12 months.

“The IPO market is quite choppy particularly because the IPO ahead of us was priced below the range and dropped at the get-go, which cast some shadow on us,” George Lu, the executive chair and group chief executive of Acquity, said in a phone interview. Concerns over “governance and accounting” of Chinese companies also affected the stock valuation, he said.

Vipshop Holdings Ltd (VIPS), a Guangzhou-based online retailer, has slumped 19 percent since raising 39 percent less than it intended last month in the first Chinese IPO in the US since August. China’s economy expanded at the slowest pace in two years last quarter as the European debt crisis and sluggish US recovery cut global demand for exported goods. Shortsellers such as Muddy Waters LLC have accused companies including Sino-Forest Corp. of misstating assets or earnings in reports to investors.

Below Target

Acquity sold 5.56 million American depositary receipts for $6 each for a total of $33.3 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The company initially sought as much as $55.6 million by offering the ADRs for $8 to $10, according to an April 23 filing.

In March, Vipshop raised $71.5 million by selling 11 million ADRs for $6.50 each, below the target range of $8.50 and $10.50. China Auto Rental Holdings Inc. (CARH), a Beijing-based car- rental provider, postponed its IPO on April 24, citing adverse “market conditions.”

The IShares FTSE China 25 Index Fund (FXI), the biggest Chinese exchange-traded fund in the US, was little changed at $37.79 yesterday. The ETF is down 0.6 percent in the week, the first decline this month. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPX) rose 0.3 percent, extending its advance this week to 1.8 percent.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index (SHCOMP) lost 0.4 percent this week after China Cosco Holdings Co., the nation’s biggest publicly traded shipping company, reported worse-than-expected losses in the first quarter and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., Asia’s biggest refiner, posted a slump in net income.

‘Goldilocks Predicament’

“It’s tough to get conviction about Chinese equities right now,” Kevin Shacknofsky, who helps manage about $5 billion for Alpine Mutual Funds, said by phone yesterday in New York. “China is in a Goldilocks predicament in which it’s not strong enough for stable growth and it’s not weak enough for stimulus.”

China has cut reserve requirements for banks twice since November in a bid to stoke lending. The nation has kept benchmark rates on hold at the highest level since 2008 since July.

Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd, China’s biggest producer of the lightweight metal, gained 3.5 percent to $12.58 in the US yesterday, pushing its weekly advance to 1 percent.

Plans by Xiong Weiping, chief executive officer of the company known as Chalco, to diversify into rare earths, coal and iron ore overshadowed the company’s 1.09 billion-yuan loss ($173 million) in the first quarter, compared with a profit of 331.2 million yuan a year earlier.

Asia-Info Jumps

Chalco has been the most acquisitive of any aluminum company in the past year with four deals worth $1.26 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

AsiaInfo-Linkage Inc. (ASIA), a telecommunications software developer, rose 1.5 percent to $11.80 yesterday in New York, trimming a weekly drop of 1.3 percent.

The company reported adjusted earnings of 27 cents per share after US markets closed on April 26, compared with an estimate of 26 cents by analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. AsiaInfo was raised to buy from neutral by Kun Tao, an analyst at Roth Capital Partners.

The Shanghai Composite is closed April 30 and May 1 for holidays and the Hong Kong exchange shuts May 1.


Category: China

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