,US-listed Chinese search giant Baidu Inc and video-streaming service Bilibili Inc raised a combined US$5.7bil through secondary listings in Hong Kong in March but had lacklustre debuts.
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NEW YORK: As in the US, initial public offering (IPO) activity out of Asia has had its strongest-ever start to a year. That frenzy for new shares is likely to taper off as demand falls back to earth in the next few months.
Asian companies, like their global peers, notched their best first quarter for listings ever, thanks to a flood of liquidity during the pandemic, super-low interest rates, and rallying stock markets. The firms raised US$49.3bil (RM204.1bil) through first-time share sales at home and abroad – a 154% jump over the same period in 2020, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
IPOs globally raised an unprecedented US$215bil, with almost half of that haul coming from the record wave of issuance by special-purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) in the US.
Now, a global rotation out of highly-valued tech and healthcare stocks that have dominated market activity, as well as fading excitement around SPACs in the US, is clouding the outlook for new deals.
“Inevitably, there is a mark to market of comparable valuations, ” said William Smiley, co-head of equity capital markets at Goldman Sachs Group Inc in Asia ex-Japan. “In terms of our pipeline, there hasn’t been any significant impact from the recent rotation, but opportunistic issuance may have decelerated.”
Asia’s IPO space faces an added challenge: the travails of Chinese tech firms, which dominate fundraising in the region. These companies are facing a crackdown against monopolistic practices at home and are also in focus as US-China tensions keep rising. Last month, for instance, the US moved forward with a law that could result in Chinese firms that don’t comply with US auditing standards being kicked off American exchanges.
The red flags are already there, with the investor mania seen earlier this year for deals like the one by Chinese TikTok rival Kuaishou Technology starting to die down.
Chinese fintech company Bairong Inc, which raised US$507mil, delivered the worst debut in three years among US$500mil-plus Hong Kong IPOs when it fell 16% last Wednesday. US-listed Chinese search giant Baidu Inc and video-streaming service Bilibili Inc raised a combined US$5.7bil through secondary listings in Hong Kong in March but had lacklustre debuts.
In contrast, investors were seen scrambling for a piece of Kuaishou’s US$6.2bil Hong Kong IPO, the biggest listing globally so far this year, and South Korean e-commerce giant Coupang Inc’s US$4.6bil float. — Bloomberg