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NEWS ANALYSIS

Hong Kong's US$10 billion deals offer punters an IPO for any mood

China Tower is the latest despite recent slump in performance of Chinese Internet and tech shares

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China Tower, which owns one of the world's biggest collections of telecom towers, on Monday filed for an initial public offering that will probably raise about US$10 billion.

Hong Kong

HONG Kong's IPO chasers are spoilt for choice. Fancy a glittering Chinese tech firm with ambitions to take on Apple? Or are duller state-owned giants more your thing?

Two megadeals are vying for attention in what's become a busy year for new listings in the city.

China Tower, which owns one of the world's biggest collections of telecom towers, on Monday filed for an initial public offering that will probably raise about US$10 billion, similar to what analysts predict smartphone maker Xiaomi is aiming for.

China Tower has all the markings of a stock that investors will screen for its bond-like properties, be it low volatility or the prospect of higher dividends.

Comparable firms in the US, such as American Tower and Crown Castle International, are lumped together with real estate stocks that on average trade at 33 times next year's earnings.

While they've been loved by income-seekers for years, rising bond yields make these stocks less attractive.

Recent trends in the equity market don't bode too well for Xiaomi either. Shares of China's tech startups that have gone public in the past year have struggled, even though their IPOs are multiple times oversubscribed.

A gauge of Chinese Internet and tech shares is still more than 8 per cent below its January record, and Hong Kong investors are piling into hedging strategies.

The deals come at a time when one of Hong Kong's most popular investment strategies - borrow big and plough the money into a red-hot IPO - is starting to fail.

Among recent popular IPOs, China Literature is down more than 30 per cent from its peak. Razer, Yixin Group and ZhongAn Online P&C Insurance are all down more than 40 per cent from their respective highs, and Ping An Healthcare and Technology is below its offer price.

While there were tentative signs of a rebound in the broader market, the Hang Seng Index lost 1 per cent on Tuesday to halt its six-day winning streak.

China International Capital and Goldman Sachs Group are joint sponsors for the planned China Tower share sale, according to the filing on Monday. BLOOMBERG

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