Breakingviews

Hong Kong’s cornerstone problem goes postal

August 25, 2016

Postal Savings Bank of China may sell as much as 80 pct of its $8 bln share offering to cornerstone investors. One unlikely ally, a big state shipbuilder, is already down for $2 bln. This is fresh evidence, on an epic scale, of how Hong Kong's IPO crown is thoroughly undeserved.

Singapore eyes last trick in the book to win IPOs

August 24, 2016

The city-state is moving closer to introducing dual-class shares. A growing sense of desperation about a moribund market for new listings has reduced opposition to such a move. The risks of giving up the high ground on shareholder democracy are likely to outweigh any rewards.

China’s giant savings bank not as safe as it seems

July 6, 2016

One in three Chinese citizens has money in Postal Savings Bank of China. It has fewer loans to bloated state firms and fewer bad debts than rivals. But big holdings of bonds issued by other arms of the Chinese state – and increased dabbling in shadow finance – still pose risks.

Japan’s chat app IPO is more Twitter than WeChat

July 1, 2016

Messaging platform Line is going public with a valuation of up to $6.6 bln. Like Chinese rival WeChat, it has lured millions with games and virtual stickers. Yet its user base has stopped growing. Like Twitter, it must now try to squeeze more revenue out of those people.

Sickly Lotte IPO reflects two faces of South Korea

June 13, 2016

Seoul may be Asia’s coolest destination right now, and Lotte Group’s flagship duty-free arm ought to profit handsomely. But raids have derailed the unit’s $4.5 bln listing and drawn attention to Korea’s uglier side: its powerful, opaque and poorly governed conglomerates.

Time Out IPO more fringe than West End

June 10, 2016

The loss-making events magazine is raising 90 mln pounds on London’s junior market. Its revamp depends on convincing visitors to book tickets on its site, though its track record hasn’t been great so far. Online booking is a crowded field and the price it is asking looks high.

Wheezing unicorns catching breath of fresh IPO air

June 6, 2016

Twilio, Nutanix and other $1 bln-plus tech startups risk running short of cash as venture capital starts to dry up. A recent revival of initial public offerings may offer them new hope. Company valuations may drop, but that beats the alternative of a suddenly thinning herd.

BOC Aviation’s Hong Kong flotation deserves to fly

May 18, 2016

The plane-leasing group is taxiing towards a $1.1 bln offering. Being under Bank of China’s wing means cheaper funding and better returns than standalone rivals. Yet the premium valuation is only justified if the state-backed parent remains willing and able to act as a backstop.

Bank IPOs expose dark arts of Chinese finance

March 17, 2016

The country’s mid-sized lenders have become skilled at repackaging loans to look like less risky investments. Two Hong Kong share offerings underscore how such wizardry has fuelled growth. The practice makes China’s financial system even more interconnected – and more vulnerable.

Cox: Argentina, Aramco are deals for tricky times

By Rob Cox
January 26, 2016

Two big transactions dominated Davos. One would open up a democracy to capital markets after years of feckless governance and isolation. The other is designed to help a repressive regime retain power. In the world’s current parlous state, it’s to be hoped that both get done.