The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong will ascend into third place and the Shanghai Stock Exchange to remain in the runner-up position in the IPO proceeds race behind the New York Stock Exchange by the end of September 2017, predicts the National Public Offering Group of professional services organization Deloitte China.
Given the slim likelihood for the Mainland to record more new mega listings, Hong Kong looks to cement the existing order of places by the end of this year supported by another one to two large IPOs from the technology sector. Meanwhile, China’s A-share IPO market may see a new record in the number of IPOs under the existing regulated IPO activities.
Deloitte expects Hong Kong to complete new listings for 106 companies raising about HK$85.0 billion for the year-to-date by 30 September 2017 against 71 IPOs raising HK$134.3 billion in the same period last year. This represents a sharp rise of 49% in the number of new listings but a drop of 37% in the IPO funds raised year-over-year.
The surge in the number of IPOs on the Growth Enterprise Market (GEM) and the overall reduced offering scale of the mega IPOs contributed to this year's phenomenon.
Strong enthusiasm from SMEs
"Hong Kong's IPO market has clearly diversified in its role not just as a preferred listing destination for blue-chips and large Chinese business or state-owned enterprises but also a fundraising venue for potentially high-growth local and international small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs)," commented Edward Au, Co-Leader, National Public Offering Group of Deloitte China.
"The strong enthusiasm from the local and international SMEs to tap Hong Kong’s bullish market this year for growth and development has boosted IPO debuts on and a long listing application pipeline for the GEM. Many of these businesses are still relatively young but with a brand name when compared with their reputable peers on the Main Board.”
At the same time, for the year-to-date to the end of the third quarter the A-share IPO market is likely to present a remarkable 177% increase in the number of new listings from 126 to 349 with proceeds raised up 128% to RMB175.9 billion from RMB77.2 billion.
As larger issuers continued to take the Main Board as a listing venue, the Shanghai Stock Exchange is expected to remain the largest Chinese IPO market raising more funds (RMB105.3 billion) than its Shenzhen peer (RMB70.6 billion).
Anthony Wu, Leader of the A-Share Capital Market of the National Public Offering Group at Deloitte China said, the strong IPO market performance was driven by a steady stream of at least 30 IPO debuts each month. However, the queue of listing applicants awaiting regulatory review remained long at a level of approximately 500 companies.
Wu said this shows that the Chinese companies are now keener to go public in their home market given the higher valuation in general instead of eyeing overseas venues and as the beneficial effect of regulating the IPO debuts at a normal pace.
Despite the vibrant performance from Hong Kong, Shanghai and Shenzhen, the NYSE took a firm lead in IPO proceeds raised by end of this third quarter due to three mega IPOs during the first six months of this year.
With the emergence of more large offerings, Hong Kong is anticipated to be able to maintain the third position over Shenzhen, which is primarily dominated by smaller offerings.
"We are positive about the outlook of Hong Kong's IPO market in the last quarter of 2017 and foresee another one to two large IPOs from the technology sector to complete before the end of the year.
“These new listings tend to be well-received under the current supportive sentiment towards technology and new economy-concept business. As the IPO review and approval process on the Mainland continues to present uncertainties for some applications, the likelihood of certain larger property developers and banks to go public in the remaining three months there may be small. We, therefore, believe the current ranking for the top three stock exchanges may remain unchanged for the remainder of this year.”
With a pipeline of more than 180 companies that have submitted IPO applications, Deloitte forecasts Hong Kong can readily conclude with 140-150 IPOs by the end of the year.
However, the firm's analysis indicates that the attainment of a level of IPO proceedings of approximately HK$130 billion-150 billion for 2017 is still subject to factors including favorable global macroeconomic conditions such as expectation over a potential delay in the timetable of U.S. interest rate hikes, U.S. tax reform, and China's 19th Communist Party Congress and whether another huge IPO is completed before the end of year.
Impact of Belt and Road Initiative
However, the impact of the Belt and Road Initiative and the high overall market valuation is likely to lure more overseas infrastructure and property-related companies and international businesses to explore listing opportunities in Hong Kong.
Au also welcomes the strong ongoing support from both the government and regulators for policies and measures such as a plan for developing the cluster of cities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area and the Lok Ma Chau Loop as well as market consultations on enhancing Hong Kong's listing regime.
These developments in aggregate are believed to help strengthen the ecosystem of the city's new economy and high growth sectors and the position of Hong Kong as a preferred listing and financing platform. In the longer run, the competitiveness of Hong Kong's IPO market can be sharpened through greater capital inflow into these projects and business segments.
As for the outlook of Mainland's new listing market, the trends that were observed in the previous quarters are likely to be maintained moving forward. These include the dominance of small and medium manufacturing and technology companies in terms of the number of upcoming new listings and fast pace of IPOs under the existing regulatory regime.
Deloitte, therefore, anticipates the Chinese Mainland to finish 2017 with about 420-480 IPOs raising approximately RMB220-250 billion.