August 14, 2022

DealBook: Prada’s I.P.O. Debuts in Hong Kong Amid Investor Jitters

HONG KONG — One of the most closely eyed stock market debuts in months got off to a muted trading start, as shares in the Italian luxury fashion house Prada edged up slightly amid a blizzard of camera flashes and jostling journalists, bankers and company executives at the Hong Kong stock exchange on Friday.

With proceeds of $2.1 billion, Prada’s initial public offering was one of the five biggest in the world so far this year, according to Thomson Reuters, and valued the Italian company at a premium to other rival luxury companies.

Prada, which is based in Milan, is the first Italian company to list in Hong Kong, making the listing an important landmark for both Hong Kong and for the luxury sector. Asia has become a key source of revenues for many luxury goods companies in recent years, and analysts believe others could consider following in Prada’s footsteps with a decision to gain a listing in this Asian financial hub.

“This is a very important moment for our company,” said Patrizio Bertelli, the Prada chief executive, at a ceremony marking the trading start, adding that it was also a landmark for the Hong Kong exchange. Mr. Bertelli was speaking in Italian through an interpreter.

About a dozen other non-Asian companies, notably in consumer goods and resources sectors, may seek listings in Hong Kong this year, according to bankers here.

However, Prada’s listing coincided with a bout of intense global investor nervousness, and raised about one-fifth less than the amount Prada had originally hoped for.

By mid-morning on Friday, Prada shares were trading at 39.60 Hong Kong dollars , just above the issue price of 35.50 dollars.

Worries about Greece’s protracted debt crisis, and concerns that the Chinese economy’s growth prospects are not as rosy as they once were have weighed on global stock markets in recent weeks.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong is now about 4 percent below where it started the year, and in mainland China, the Shanghai composite has fallen about 3.8 percent since Jan. 1.

A string of I.P.O.’s have been mothballed in Asia in recent weeks. Others have been priced below earlier expectations, or performed poorly since their trading starts.

Shares in Samsonite were only moderately oversubscribed, and dropped sharply on their first trading day earlier this month.

The luggage maker, which was bought by the British private equity firm CVC Capital Partners in 2007, had previously been forced to price its shares at the lower end of its indicative range, bringing it proceeds of $1.25 billion, rather than the maximum $1.5 billion it had hoped for.

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