Hong Kong's Arculli Sees IPOs Beating 2009, More Foreign Company Listings

Ronald Arculli, chairman of Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd., expects initial public offerings on the bourse this year to exceed 2009 as more foreign firms list their shares in Asia.

“2010 will beat 2009,” Arculli, who heads the operator of Asia’s third-biggest stock market, said in an interview in Milan today. About 60 companies raised HK$189.3 billion ($24.4 billion) in 2009, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Hong Kong Exchanges is targeting international businesses and this year marked the listing of the city’s first Russian and French companies, United Co. Rusal and L’Occitane International SA, respectively. Arculli, 71, is meeting company executives in Italy to attract the country’s businesses to Asia, where there’s a “high savings rate and good economic prospects.”

“From water to fashion to industry, you have leading Italian brands that are household names in the world,” said Arculli, whose Milan trip was organized by UBS AG. “A listing in Hong Kong would automatically enhance their brand recognition.”

More than 80 businesses have applied to list their shares in Hong Kong over coming months, though “I can’t see all of them getting done,” Arculli said, declining to comment on the outlook for 2011. There are businesses from “several new jurisdictions” that plan IPOs in Hong Kong, based on applications the exchange has already received, and there are one or two large sales scheduled in coming weeks, he said.

Prada SpA, the Italian owner of the eponymous fashion label, is studying an IPO in the first half of 2011 and is considering listing its stock in Hong Kong, three people with knowledge of the situation have told Bloomberg News. Arculli declined to name any companies.

The executive also said he doesn’t expect competition from dark pools, trading systems that match orders anonymously, to increase next year. Trading on dark pools accounts for about 3 percent of the Hong Kong exchange’s total turnover and that figure will probably remain “static” in 2011, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elisa Martinuzzi in Milan at emartinuzzi@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Edward Evans at eevans3@bloomberg.net

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