Source: The Drum

Budweiser Brewing Company APAC, the regional unit of the world’s biggest beer brewer, priced its Hong Kong initial public offering (IPO) at the bottom of its indicative pricing range on Tuesday. The slimmed-down listing is the largest stock sale in Hong Kong this year and the second-biggest globally after Uber Technologies’ US$8.1 billion IPO in New York in May, according to financial data provider Refinitiv.

Budweiser priced its offering at HK$27 a share, at the bottom of a price range of between HK$27 and HK$30 a share, Budweiser will announce its final tally on Friday, with the stock to begin trading on September 30.

The company – which counts Corona, Goose Island and Stella Artois among its brands – had hoped to raise as much as US$9.8 billion earlier this year, but scrapped its listing in July as it was unable to attract the valuations it desired as investor sentiment weakened against the backdrop of the US-China trade war and protests in Hong Kong over a controversial extradition bill.

The pricing of the Budweiser IPO is a boost for the Hong Kong stock exchange, which saw several listings postponed as political unrest in the city raised concerns about Hong Kong’s future as an international financial centre and drove down valuations.

In addition to Budweiser, ESR Cayman, a logistics real estate developer, has revived its Hong Kong listing, while Home Credit, a Czech consumer finance lender that counts China as its biggest market, has been meeting with investors ahead of its planned US$1 billion IPO.

In the first three weeks of September, 16 companies have applied to raise funds on the local bourse. One question for investors – and companies looking at Hong Kong listings – will be whether further escalation in the trade war or continued unrest in the city will again weigh on sentiment and close the window for new offerings later this year.

A big test could be if Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding – owner of South China Morning Post – moves forward with a secondary listing in Hong Kong.

Source: South China Morning Posts

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