Gem on track despite IPO flops

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 February, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 February, 1999, 12:00am

The failure of three initial public offerings this year would not derail the stock exchange's planned launch of the Growth Enterprises Market (Gem) in the fourth quarter, exchange senior executive director Lawrence Fok Kwong-man said yesterday.

The Gem will have lower listing requirements but tougher disclosure rules than the main board, with the aim of allowing medium-sized enterprises to raise funds.

Some market players have questioned whether the Gem will be able to attract sufficient investor interest, given poor market sentiment for new main board listings.

The decision on Monday to postpone the H-share listing planned by Shandong International Power Development came in the wake of last month's failures of new issues by H-share candidate Heilongjiang Agriculture and local candidate Zhujiang Steel Pipe.

Mr Fok said short-term market sentiment should not affect the exchange's long-term projects.

'The introduction of the Gem will bring a lot of long-term benefits to the exchange,' he said. 'We should not abandon our projects just because of poor sentiment.' Mr Fok said it was too early to say whether Hong Kong had lost its role as the main centre for mainland fund-raising efforts.

'The mainland government bond successfully listed last month,' he said.