Singapore companies abandon home to list in Hong Kong

SINGAPORE: Hong Kong remains the top listing venue for Singapore companies.

CTR Holdings Ltd, a provider of engineering services, is the latest example. It’s the second Singaporean company that’s picked Hong Kong over its home ground this year, even with the ongoing anti-government protests in the financial hub.

In 2019, 10 Singaporean firms debuted in Hong Kong, raising US$155 million, a 25% increase from 2018, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Hong Kong and Singapore have been vying to be the No 1 financial hub in Asia.

After losing e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd to the New York Stock Exchange in 2014, Hong Kong’s bourse introduced a number of listing reforms, including one allowing companies with a dual-class share structure to list there.

That’s enabled smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp and food-delivery giant Meituan Dianping to complete multibillion-dollar initial public offerings in Hong Kong.

The Singapore Exchange followed shortly after, revising its listing rules to allow companies to offer shares with different voting rights. But so far, no firm listing on the bourse has adopted the structure.

Singapore remains the preferred listing venue for real estate investment trusts. Out of the US$2.2 billion raised in that city last year, 98% came from REITs, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

By contrast, Hong Kong saw its first REIT IPO in six years with China Merchants Commercial Real Estate Investment Trust’s debut in December.

The amount raised by non-REIT companies in Singapore is a fraction of what they are raising in Hong Kong.

In Singapore, six of them raised a total of US$31.9 million last year, 21% of what was raised by Singaporean companies in Hong Kong, the data show.

The Singapore exchange announced earlier this month that it will be removing quarterly reporting for companies, except for those associated with higher risk.

The bourse mentioned that this is to be in line with other global markets including Hong Kong, Australia, the UK and other European countries.

“It helps save a lot of work as well as unnecessary share price movements for the companies,” said Jarick Seet, an analyst at RHB Bank Bhd in Singapore.

“I don’t think this will cause a major factor in the decision-making process but it’s a slight positive. The overall decision will still depend on the sector and valuation of the market for that company.”

Upcoming listings:

Shanghai Gench Education Group

  • Hong Kong exchange
  • Size US$78 million
  • Listing Jan 16
  • Macquarie

Central Retail

  • Thailand stock exchange
  • Size up to US$2.65 billion
  • Pricing date TBD
  • Bualang Securities, Phatra Securities, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, UBS

Huijing Holdings

  • Hong Kong exchange
  • Size US$195 million
  • Listing Jan 16
  • China Galaxy International

I-Mab Biopharma

  • Nasdaq exchange
  • Size up to US$111 million
  • Pricing Jan 16
  • Jefferies, CICC

Phoenix Tree Holdings

  • New York Stock Exchange
  • Size up to US$175 million
  • Pricing Jan 16
  • Citi, Credit Suisse, JPMorgan

Lizhi

  • Nasdaq exchange
  • Size up to US$53 million
  • Pricing Jan 16
  • Citi, Haitong, AMTD, Needham, Tiger Brokers

Shenzhen Leoking Environmental Group

  • Hong Kong exchange
  • Pre-marketing started Dec 18
  • CLSA sole sponsor

Mr DIY Group

  • Bursa Malaysia
  • Size up to US$500 million
  • Pricing date TBD
  • CIMB, Maybank