(Bloomberg) -- December was expected to show the return of major initial public offerings to Hong Kong after months marked by a drought of big deals, but plans are changing fast and not in a good way.
China Tourism Group Duty Free Corp., the world’s largest travel retailer, decided on Friday to suspend a $5 billion listing, citing sluggish capital markets and the pandemic. Artificial intelligence firm SenseTime Group Inc. is downsizing its planned IPO, seeking up to $768 million compared with initial plans of raising at least $1 billion.
Pharma company Asymchem Laboratories Tianjin Co., the biggest offering in the city since September, ended up raising about $917 million, falling short of the $968 million it could get at the top price. Cloud Village Inc., the music streaming arm of gaming giant NetEase Inc., is down about 3% since its debut on Dec. 2, following an IPO that also ended up being less than half of the $1 billion it had considered.
The market for new shares listing has been rocky in the Asian financial hub since China broadened a clampdown over several sectors and made it harder for major tech giants to go public abroad. Sentiment deteriorated further on Friday as Didi Global Inc. said it was delisting from New York about five months after it started trading in the U.S., while seeking a listing in Hong Kong.
If CTG Duty Free had moved on with its offering at the $5 billion size, the deal alone would raise more in proceeds than 17 deals priced between Aug. 13 and Dec. 1, Bloomberg-compiled data show.
“The Hong Kong IPO market will be put on ice,” said Justin Tang, head of Asian research at United First Partners. He added that CTG Duty Free’s decision reflects the uncertain outlook due to omicron as well as investor sentiment in relation to Chinese stocks.
Read More: China Duty Free’s H.K. IPO Freeze Shows Weak Market: Street Wrap
To be sure, smaller deals are moving on in Hong Kong. Gushengtang Holdings Ltd., a traditional Chinese medicine health care service provider priced shares at the top of a marketed range in a $104 million offering. JL MAG Rare-Earth Co., a manufacturer of rare earth materials already listed in Shenzhen, started to gauge investor demand for a share sale on Monday.
In the longer term, more major Chinese firms already listed in the U.S. could follow Didi’s lead and sell shares in Hong Kong, potentially boosting proceeds raised in the city next year. Shares on the Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. were up more than 7% since Thursday’s close.
Read More: China ADR ‘Homecoming’ May Light Regional Financials Growth Fire
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