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Monday, November 30, 2009

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SINGAPORE/SHANGHAI (Reuters) - CapitaMalls Asia shares rose as much as 9 percent on their Singapore debut on Wednesday, and China Pacific Insurance was given the go-ahead to raise around $3.4 billion in Hong Kong, in a sign that Asia's IPO market will remain hot into the new year.

There were also strong debuts by Chinese property developer Fantasia and coal mining equipment maker Sany, which jumped as much as 12 percent and 48 percent respectively in Hong Kong.

The new listings are the latest in a string of share sales across Asia as companies take advantage of a market rally that has lifted regional stocks by about two-thirds this year, and as funds flock to Asia in search of higher growth.

Asia accounts for six of the world's top-10 initial public offerings this year, with those Asian deals alone raising more than $24 billion.

"Valuations remain attractive on a relative basis to other parts of the world," said Sutha Kandiah, joint head of equity capital markets Asia at UBS, whose deals include this month's $3.3 billion IPO of Malaysia's Maxis.

"There's an abundance of liquidity that continues to pursue above-normal returns in a low interest rate environment, and we continue to work with issuers preparing for IPO launches in the first quarter of next year," he added.

China Pacific Insurance, China's third-largest life insurer, said it obtained Beijing's approval to float shares in Hong Kong. The insurer had said previously it hoped to raise at least $3.4 billion.

Other big IPOs that will list soon include Las Vegas Sands' Macau assets, raising around $2.5 billion, and China Longyuan Power's $2.2 billion IPO in Hong Kong.

China Shipbuilding Industry Co, the country's biggest ship equipment producer, said on Wednesday it would launch a Shanghai IPO to raise 6.4 billion yuan ($937 million) to expand its production capacity.


In Singapore, CapitaMalls' $2 billion IPO -- the city-state's biggest in 16 years -- was 2.7 times subscribed with strong institutional demand from Europe and the United States, said parent company CapitaLand.

CapitaLand, Southeast Asia's developer, will retain about 65 percent of CapitaMalls and plans to use the IPO proceeds to fund its expansion in Vietnam and grow its Ascott serviced residences business.

Analysts say CapitaMalls, which owns or manages 86 shopping malls including 50 in China, offered a way to tap the region's growing consumer demand, especially in China where retail sales rose 16.2 percent in October from a year ago.

The sale of CapitaMalls shares, at 1.55 times book value compared with parent CapitaLand's 1.4 times, may spark a trend of firms floating minority stakes in their most attractive subsidiaries to "unlock" the value of the assets.

Hong Kong conglomerate Swire Pacific, whose businesses include airline Cathay Pacific, has said it was considering an IPO of its property unit, pushing its shares up to a 20-month high.

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