China's retail giant eyes $1 bln Hong Kong IPO

20th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

China's leading hypermarket operator Sun Art Retail Group began pre-marketing on Monday for an initial public offering in Hong Kong next month which could raise up to $1 billion.

The retail giant, backed by France's Groupe Auchan SA, has received Hong Kong regulatory approval and plans to start its bookbuilding for institutional investors on June 28, Dow Jones Newswires quoted an unnamed source as saying.

Sun Art will start its offering for retail investors on July 4 and plans to begin trading on the city's stock exchange on July 15.

Hong Kong's bourse could not immediately be reached for comment.

The supermarket giant, previously known as Sun Holdings Greater China Ltd, is a joint venture between Taiwanese supermarket-to-cement conglomerate Ruentex Group and Groupe Auchan, a French retailing group.

The offering, the latest bid by a Chinese firm to tap Hong Kong's huge IPO market, comes despite waning investor interest amid the recent turmoil in the global stock market.

Italian luxury goods maker Prada, which will start trading in Hong Kong on Friday, has raised a lower-than-expected $2.14 billion in its share sale. The firm has originally aimed to raise as much as $2.6 billion.

Earlier this month, Australian miner Resourcehouse shelved an IPO originally slated to raise as much as $3.6 billion, citing weak market conditions.

US luggage maker Samsonite also had a poor trading debut in Hong Kong this month after its shares closed nearly eight percent below their IPO price.

Hong Kong was the world's biggest IPO market in 2010 -- for the second year in a row -- after firms raised more than $50 billion from their listings in the southern Chinese territory.

© 2011 AFP

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