Prudential, the UK life assurer, plans to list in Hong Kong ahead of its $20bn rights issue, in a surprise move that could encourage local investors to buy shares in support of its $35.5bn agreed deal to buy AIG's Asian businesses.
The acceleration of the listing, which was announced yesterday, represents an apparent turnround from the company's statement last week that it would “consider seeking a dual primary-listing . . . in due course after completion of the transaction”.
However, the Pru had filed its application to list at the beginning of last month. Tidjane Thiam, its chief executive, obtained clearance from regulators last week to speed up the process, said people close to the situation. Prudential said it would not offer any new ordinary shares in Hong Kong.
Mr Thiam is conducting an intensive set of meetings with UK-based investors this week to try to ensure they vote in favour of the rights issue and the deal after some complained of poor communication and a lack of financial information on the deal from the Pru.
Plenty of Asian investors, many of whom were being lined up for the initial public offering of AIA, the Asian business of AIG, are keen to invest in the combined group, according to people familiar with the deal.
A Hong Kong listing could encourage some Asian investors to buy into the Pru ahead of its rights issue. The company is hoping that the listing will support its share price, which fell 14 per cent last week after news of the deal.
Investors were warned of speculative froth in the Chinese market after Sichuan Expressway, the first company to list on the Shanghai exchange in almost a year, more than tripled on
China's largest wind power producer yesterday announced plans to float shares in Hong Kong, the latest in a wave of Chinese companies that aim to raise an estimated $25bn in the co