Chinese retail giant surges 41% on debut

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China's top hypermarket operator Sun Art Retail group soared as much as 41 percent on its Hong Kong trading debut Wednesday, after raising $1.06 billion from its initial public offering.

Shares in the retail giant -- backed by France's Groupe Auchan SA -- opened at HK$9.0 ($1.15) and touched HK$10.12 in early trade, well above its HK$7.20 IPO price. The benchmark Hang Seng Index opened 0.31 percent lower Wednesday.

The retailer has bucked a recent downturn in the Hong Kong IPO market, the world's biggest, and said its share sale was 41.1 times oversubscribed, defying a batch of weak new listings in the Asian financial hub.

Some firms have decided to delay or cancel their listings citing turmoil global markets.

Italian luxury goods maker Prada made a lacklustre debut in the financial hub in June after raising a lower-than-expected $2.14 billion in its IPO.

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

Sun Art Retail Group was originally scheduled to make its Hong Kong debut on July 15 but it was delayed after it overstated its earnings per share in its IPO prospectus. It issued a supplementary prospectus later.

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

The firm has said it plans to use half of the proceeds to open 51 stores in mainland China by the end of next year. Sun Art currently has 197 hypermarkets in China.

© 2011 AFP

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