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HK exchange sees potential return of two pulled IPOs

Hong Kong

TWO Hong Kong initial public offerings that had been postponed earlier this year are rearing their heads again.

Warburg Pincus-backed ESR Cayman Ltd, a logistics real estate platform, on Friday refiled listing documents with the Hong Kong stock exchange, a day after the world's largest brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev did the same for its Asian unit.

The potential return of the two deals, which had initially sought to raise about US$11 billion between them, marks a remarkable turnaround for the fortunes of the Hong Kong stock exchange, which is languishing behind Shanghai and New York in terms of IPO proceeds. Companies have only raised US$10.8 billion in Hong Kong IPOs so far this year, less than the amount withdrawn, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Budweiser Brewing Company APAC Ltd - AB InBev's Asian unit - and ESR Cayman are respectively the largest and third-biggest pulled deals globally this year. Should they successfully complete their IPOs on the second attempt, it would give a boost to investor confidence and other prospective issuers waiting in the pipeline.

IPO activity has picked up significantly in Hong Kong in recent weeks. Shanghai Henlius Biotech is set to be the first company since July to price a deal over US$100 million when it closes its books next week, while Bank of Guizhou, Home Credit and Topsports International Holdings are currently gauging investor demand for deals that could fetch around a billion each. BLOOMBERG