China’s IPO Frenzy Lures $273 Billion to One Stock Offering

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China’s initial public offerings are such hot commodities that a company seeking $2 billion attracted bids approaching the entire annual economic output of Hong Kong.

China National Nuclear Power Co., the country’s second-biggest atomic power operator, locked up 1.69 trillion yuan ($273 billion) in bids for its IPO, according to a company statement posted on the Shanghai Stock Exchange’s website. The offering may be the biggest in China since August 2010.

Individual investors are piling into newly-issued stocks on mainland exchanges after regulators discouraged companies from selling equity at high valuations. Shares of the 144 firms that went public this year have jumped an average 539 percent so far, including a 44 percent increase on the first day of trading, the maximum amount allowed by local bourses, according | to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Concern that investors will shift funds from the stock market into IPOs helped fuel losses in the Shanghai Composite index on Thursday. The gauge slumped 1.8 percent at the midday break.

“Sentiment is a bit hurt by the IPO sale of China National Nuclear Power, given the huge amount of funds it’s attracted,” said Wei Wei, an analyst at West China Securities Co. in Shanghai.

Under current regulations, the China Securities Regulatory Commission requires any company pricing stock at levels above their peers to postpone the offering by three weeks and issue risk warnings to investors.

China National Nuclear will sell 3.9 billion new shares at 3.39 yuan each. The company plans to use the money to build 10 reactors and for working capital needs.

Subscriptions for 23 local IPOs, including China National Nuclear Power, may lock up 4.9 trillion yuan starting in early June, according to the median estimate of six analysts surveyed by Bloomberg last month.

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