Chinese firms eye IPOs in land down under

This summer’s crash in the Chinese equity markets has left a lot of potential initial public offerings lying in the dust.

The many small firms hoping to go public on the mainland had their dreams deferred after the Chinese regulators said no more IPOs until the market stabilizes.

So, these companies, which include a foot massage franchise, a soccer boot maker and a camellia tree grower, hope to launch and list their stocks on the Australian stock market.

Chinese companies going public in Australia are expected to raise 83 million Australian dollars ($60.52 million) by the end of August, compared with A$59 million raised in the first eight months last year, according to Reuters. At this pace, Chinese IPOs in Australia this year should top last year’s record of A$109 million.

However, getting investors interested is an uphill climb. Not only must these companies overcome a language barrier and cultural standoffishness to their business offerings, but also the history of poor performance by past IPOs.

“Chinese companies have to do even more to win the investors, to prove themselves in the market,” Ting Jiang, company secretary XPD Soccer Gear Group, told Reuters. “With Australian companies, at least (investors) can see their assets. They are more confident in Australian companies.”

XPD debuted in Sydney in May at 20 Australian cents a share. On July 31 its shares closed at 21.5 Australian cents.

Of the 38 China-based companies to list in Australia since 1996, just five are trading at or above their issue price, including companies which have been bought out since listing, analysis by Reuters shows. Just eight of the companies have their shares traded daily.

“Unless you’ve got people on the ground who could do the due diligence, from a retail investor’s perspective, I wouldn’t say that’s the most suitable investment,” Danial Moradi, equity strategist at Melbourne-based Lonsec Stockbroking told Reuters. “We wouldn’t have as equal access (to management), there would obviously be language barriers, and obviously businesses are run differently in China.”



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