SBI chief looks to HK for growth

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 31 March, 2011, 12:00am

SBI Holdings, a Japanese online financial services and venture capital firm which is seeking up to HK$2.55 billion in a secondary listing in Hong Kong, said the country's nuclear crisis would have little impact on its business.

Shares of the Tokyo-listed firm, which invests in various venture capital funds that target mainland companies partnering prominent domestic institutions such as Peking University and Tsinghua University, fell sharply after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami damaged the nuclear power plant at Fukushima.

SBI chief executive Yoshitaka Kitao was critical of the government's initial slow reaction to the crisis, but predicted Japan's economy would recover and local investor sentiment would remain intact.

'I believe Japanese investors would like to trade Hong Kong stocks,' said Kitao. 'The performance of Japan's stocks has been dismal.'

Kitao also said he believed many Japanese firms wanted to list in Hong Kong, possibly using Hong Kong depositary receipts (HDRs). 'There are so many things happening in the world right now,' said Kitao.

'At some point, we have to list HDRs [in Hong Kong] and if we don't do it now, it will be too late.'

SBI is the first Japanese firm to float in the city by listing HDRs and 50 per cent of the proceeds will be used to invest in funds focusing on emerging markets and the US, it said.

It will spend another 40 per cent on brokerage, investment banking and financial services businesses.

The trading of SBI's HDRs is scheduled to begin on April 14.