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Wild Hong Kong IPO turns 188% gain to loss in less than an hour


[HONG KONG] Investors in a snack maker's initial public offering in Hong Kong were sitting on losses just minutes after watching the shares almost triple.

Shares in Singapore-based Snack Empire Holdings surged as high as 188 per cent on their debut on Wednesday, before sinking into the red 45 minutes later. The retail portion of the HK$130 million (S$22.5 million) IPO was almost 14 times subscribed.

The gut churning moves come after outsized gains by small-cap IPOs in the city this month lured investors. EuroEyes International Eye Clinic shares rose as much as 102 per cent on their Oct 15 debut, while shares of software developer 360 Ludashi Holdings more than tripled on Oct 10. The 14 IPOs this month through Tuesday climbed an average 43 per cent on their first day, according to Bloomberg data.

Speculators are piling into IPOs given the lack of direction in the broader market, according to Castor Pang, head of research at Core Pacific-Yamaichi International. The Hang Seng Index has fallen 12 per cent from its April high amid concern about the US-China trade war and months of protests in Hong Kong.

Snack Empire Holdings offers Taiwanese snacks and beverages under its Shihlin Taiwan Street Snacks brand.

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