Closely watched China Renaissance IPO crumbles in first day of trade

Finance news

Hot on the heels of Chinese hotpot chain Haidilao’s debut yesterday, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing held another highly anticipated initial public offering with the debut of investment bank China Renaissance.

The company, which counts Alibaba-affiliated payments giant Ant Financial as one of its cornerstone investors, was expected to raise approximately $346 million after pricing at 31.80 Hong Kong dollars (approximately $4.07) per share.

As of the market close at 4 p.m. HK/SIN, China Renaissance’s stock was at 24.7 Hong Kong dollars per share, falling approximately 28.7 percent from the debut price.

“It’s OK, you know, we play a long game,” Fan Bao, founder and chairman of China Renaissance, told CNBC’s Emily Tan, when asked about the stock’s lackluster performance on its first day of trading.

“We’re very confident of our business performance in the future,” he added.

Founded by Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse alumnus Bao, China Renaissance has played an advisory role in some of the biggest mergers in China’s tech ecosystem. One of those deals was the merger of Meituan and Dianping in the formation of Meituan Dianping, a tech heavyweight that saw its own public listing earlier in September.

China Renaissance also advised on the merger of Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache for the formation of Didi Kuaidi, better known today as the Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing.

Despite a long run of industry successes, some market observers expressed doubt over the state of China’s financial space.

“The financial market in mainland China is, well, it’s not in a very good shape for the time being,” Ronald Wan, non-executive chairman at Partners Financial Holdings, said Wednesday on CNBC’s “The Rundown.”

Challenges in liquidity and credit debt are likely to “pose a very great challenge” to companies in the space, he added.

“In that area, I think that investors should take a rather conservative approach,” Wan said. “I would take Haidilao instead of the other financial stocks.”

Haidilao, for its part, fell 5.05 percent on Thursday.

Asked where China Renaissance was likely to look next following its public debut, Bao said it would “most likely” be Southeast Asia, a region where its corporate clients are heading and where it sees many “interesting investment opportunities.”

In an announcement of IPO allotment results posted on the China Renaissance’s website on Sept. 26, 2018, the company said that approximately 40 percent of the net proceeds from the public listing were expected to be dedicated toward expanding its investment banking business.

According to the same document, other expected applications of the net proceeds include expanding its investment management business and developing its wealth management arm.