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Financial markets: Asia’s cash-call crash course

A glut of IPOs and bank capital demands means treasurers and investors alike need to steer carefully in giddy Asia.

Drivers at the Indianapolis Speedway, a senior Hong Kong-based capital markets banker told Euromoney recently, are instructed when they spot a crash ahead to steer straight for that spot on the understanding that by the time they arrive the colliding cars will have moved. The same advice, the banker argued, ought to be given to companies in Asia trying to navigate financial markets. Those that were considering floating on the region’s exchanges earlier in 2009 should, while surveying the wreckage across Asia’s equity markets in the first quarter, have pushed ahead with public offering preparations so that when the time came they were ready. Instead they waited for a signal that things were improving – generally thought to be BBMG’s successful July IPO – before restarting preparations. The result is a glut of year-end deals that began this October, almost exactly three months after the BBMG deal or about the amount of time it takes to get an initial offering from idea to final execution.

The $2.5 billion IPO of the Macau casino operation Sands China on November 23 was, according to Bloomberg, the 16th IPO to be launched on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange since October 1.

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