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Biotech firm Henlius takes orders for Hong Kong's first major IPO since July

[HONG KONG] Shanghai Henlius Biotech Inc started taking investor orders on Wednesday for a Hong Kong initial public offering that could raise as much as US$477 million, the city's first major listing since July.

The Fosun Group-backed company is offering about 64.7 million shares at HK$49.6 to HK$57.8 each, according terms for the deal obtained by Bloomberg. The share sale could raise as much as US$548 million if an over-allotment option is fully exercised, the terms show.

The biotech company attracted four cornerstone investors to the offering, including Qatar Investment Authority which has agreed to buy US90 million worth of shares, according to the terms.

Henlius' offering will be a test of investor sentiment in Hong Kong as the financial hub comes under the twin pressure of anti-government protests that show no sign of abating and a trade war between the US and China. The biotech company's share sale is the city's first IPO of more than US$100 million since Jinshang Bank Co's US$474 million listing in July, data compiled by Bloomberg shows.

Hong Kong badly needs IPO volume to pick up as it's currently trailing New York, Nasdaq and Shanghai in overall funds raised, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Anheuser-Busch InBev NV's decision in July to postpone the US$9.8 billion IPO of its Asian business deprived Hong Kong of what would have been the world's largest IPO this year.

Companies have raised US$10.8 billion via first-time share sales in Hong Kong so far this year, less than half the amount in the same period last year. But 2018 was a blockbuster year with the likes of Xiaomi Corp, Meituan Dianping and China Tower Corp all completing multibillion-dollar listings.

Henlius is expected to price the offering on Sept 18 and list on the Hong Kong stock exchange on Sept 25, according to the terms.

CICC, Bank of America Corp, CMB International, Fosun Hani Securities and Citigroup Inc are joint sponsors for the deal, a preliminary prospectus shows.