Convenience Retail IPO circles investors

Hong Kong''s beleaguered Growth Enterprises Market (GEM) may be given a much needed shot in the arm by the success of an IPO for Li and Fung offshoot Convenience Retail Asia (CRA).

Demand for the placement tranche of the BNP Paribas Peregrine-led deal topped the 14 times mark, offering some proof that institutions are willing to participate in a market which has become renowned for being illiquid and subject to the whims of retail investors.

Priced over the weekend, the 163.9 million share transaction came in at the top end of its HK$1.05 to HK$1.15 indicative range, raising HK$188.49 million $24.2 million. Equating to a priceearnings ratio of 14.13 times 2000 earnings, the issue represents a 25% stake and was already trading up to a grey market price of HK$1.25 by the end of Monday.

However, while institutional books...

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