Investors show lukewarm response to new share offerings

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 December, 2007, 12:00am

Investors are continuing to pull back from initial public share offerings in Hong Kong, with brokerages recording lacklustre demand for margin financing for three new offerings.

Margin financing for shares of Anton Oilfield Services Group, a mainland provider of drilling and field services, closed yesterday following less than thrilling demand from investors.

Fellow listing candidates Bio Beauty Group and Uni-President China Holdings, for which margin financing is expected to end today, have also drawn disappointing responses.

Margin financing - borrowed money used to buy stock - is usually an indication of how successful a new offering will prove on its first day of trading.

Sun Hung Kai Securities, Phillip Securities and Taifook Securities received HK$145 million worth of margin orders for Anton Oilfield, just covering the HK$120 million worth of shares available in its retail tranche.

'Most investors are losing passion towards new offerings,' said Nelson Chan Kai-fung, a general manager at Bright Smart Securities. 'They are taking a wait-and-see attitude.'

Hit by rising market volatility and growing concern over a recession in the United States next year, new share sales are no longer the investment favourites they were earlier in the year.

The Hang Seng Index is still 7.25 per cent below its peak of 31,638.22 points set on October 30. Mainland heavyweights Sinotruk (Hong Kong) and Sinotrans Shipping have both sunk on their trading debuts in the past two weeks.

According to Sun Hung Kai, some investors withdrew margin financing orders for Uni-President. The amount borrowed for subscriptions was HK$30 million yesterday, compared with HK$100 million on the first day of the offering.

Bio Beauty did not attract any margin orders on the first two days of its retail offering, according to Sun Hung Kai and Taifook.

The three listing hopefuls plan to raise HK$7.8 billion.

Meanwhile, China Sunshine Paper Holdings, the largest mainland producer of white top linerboard, priced its HK$600 million offering at HK$6 per share, near the low end of a range between HK$5.75 and HK$7.45.

That follows fluorochemical producer Dongyue Group fixing its offering at HK$2.16 last Friday, also at the low end of its expected range.