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Big Hong Kong IPOs pitched to investors as market confidence improves

A Chinese national flag flies beside a flag of the Hong Kong Exchanges (HKEx) in Hong Kong in this Apr 15, 2015 file photo.

[HONG KONG] China Huarong Asset Management Co Ltd and China Reinsurance (Group) started pitching Hong Kong IPOs worth up to a combined US$5 billion to investors on Monday - a sign of improving confidence in market conditions after recent turbulence.

China's biggest state-owned bad debt asset management firm and its largest reinsurer had received the nod for their initial public offerings weeks ago but pre-marketing was delayed due to volatile markets around the world.

After falling for five straight months, Hong Kong's benchmark stock index started October on a positive tone, indicating investors may be ready to dip back into IPOs even though uncertainties about the health of China's economy remain. "We're not out of the woods yet. I wouldn't view it as a bull signal for the economy or for the stock market, but they must be confident enough to reach this phase, which is positive," said a Hong Kong-based equity capital markets banker who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. "They've taken a view that these deals will get done and will be supported by Chinese pools of capital. There's no shortage of institutional money in China." Huarong and China RE did not reply to Reuters requests for comment on the pre-marketing of their IPOs.

Huarong is seeking to raise up to US$3 billion in its IPO. The offering will consist of 6.31 billion shares, equivalent to a 16.4 per cent stake in the company, and Huarong is slated to start taking orders from investors on Oct 15, according to a term sheet of the deal seen by Reuters.

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The offering will include no more than 607 million shares from China's Ministry of Finance and no more than 17 million shares from state-backed grain trader COFCO, the terms showed.

Huarong plans to use 60 per cent of the proceeds to develop its distressed asset business and buy more debt from financial and non-financial companies, while another 30 per cent will be set aside to expand its financial services businesses.

China RE plans to raise up to US$2 billion. It is set to offer 5.77 billion new shares, equivalent to 14 per cent of its enlarged share capital, and to start taking orders from investors on Oct 12, Thomson Reuters publication IFR reported.