Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing plans Hong Kong listing, sources say

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 August, 2013, 4:18am

Fast Retailing, Asia's largest clothing retailer, plans to list in Hong Kong early next year, said three people with knowledge of the matter.

Fast Retailing, the Japanese-based company that operates Uniqlo brand stores, plans to submit a filing with the city's bourse as early as next month for issuing Hong Kong depositary receipts, one of the people said, asking not to be identified.

The company would not raise any money as part of the listing, the people said.

Led by Tadashi Yanai, Fast Retailing wanted to widen its investor base as it expanded abroad, they said.

The company plans to add about 100 stores a year over the next decade in China to increase outlets in Asia's largest economy to 3,000.

As of February, Fast Retailing had 182 Uniqlo stores on the mainland and 16 in Hong Kong, according to its website. The Japanese company has said it would not slow its China expansion, even after a territorial dispute between the two nations forced it to close as many as 60 outlets temporarily in September last year.

Fast Retailing got 77 per cent of its sales from Japan in the 12 months to August last year, down from 82 per cent in the year-earlier period. Besides Tokyo, the company is traded in Germany and the US.

Fast Retailing's American depositary receipts have advanced 27 per cent this year, trailing the 45 per cent rally in the Tokyo-traded stock that took its market value to 3.4 trillion yen (HK$271.4 billion).

Fast Retailing would become the third Japanese company to list in Hong Kong, following SBI Holdings and Dynam Japan Holdings.