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Capital Markets

Russia: IRC forced to halve size of Hong Kong flotation

Chinese appetite for Russian risk remains relatively weak; Rare IT flotation on the way in London

Attempts by owners of Russian assets to tap cash-rich Chinese investors for much-needed funds through a listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange continue to struggle.

Despite an ostensibly positive backdrop, with strong initial investor demand and aftermarket performance by recent share deals in Hong Kong, Russian-related issuers have largely failed to convince potential buyers of the merits of their investment cases.

The latest example is iron ore miner IRC, a subsidiary of London-listed Petropavlovsk, Russia’s third-biggest gold producer. Although IRC is incorporated in Hong Kong, its principal operations are located in the Russian Far East. As such its attempt to raise money on the Asian bourse were closely followed, given the lacklustre reception for aluminium firm Rusal, the first Russia-related initial public offering in Hong Kong, whose flotation in January failed to ignite much interest and whose shares were still trading below their HK$10.80 listing level at HK$9.35 when IRC came to market.

IRC’s attempt to woo Chinese buyers has fared little better, with the size of the offering halved and the launch of the deal delayed on the back of concerns from Hong Kong market regulators.

Hopeful listing

When the listing prospectus was filed at the end of September it was hoped the deal would raise as much as HK$3.97

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