China Huarong's $2.3b HK IPO is bittersweet

The distressed debt house's float is weak compared to peers, but the successful completion on the back of cornerstone commitments is key to Beijing's market liberalisation plans.
Lai Xiaomin, chairman of China Huarong
Lai Xiaomin, chairman of China Huarong

China Huarong Asset Management, the country’s largest distressed debt management company by assets, completed its initial public offering in Hong Kong, listing shares at a mere 2% premium over its historical book value -- the lowest ever by a state-owned financial institution.

China Huarong on Thursday raised HK$17.8 billion $2.3 billion by selling 15% of its enlarged share capital to investors at HK$3.09 per share. The company’s market capitalization of $15.3 billion equates to 1.02 times book value as of the end of June.

During the management roadshow China Huarong approached investors with an indicative price range of HK$3.03 and HK$3.39, but...

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