Hong Kong-based Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Co. is hoping to raise up to $3.5 billion in a massive initial public offering, based on its lucrative share of China's luxury market, reports said Monday.
The world's biggest jewellery chain with more than 1,300 outlets throughout Asia has launched the premarketing process to gauge investor appetite ahead of the roadshow that opens on November 28, Dow Jones Newswires reported.
Wholly owned by Cheng Yu-tung, 80, the company is pushing ahead with the planned December 15 listing despite global market volatility, betting its share of China's booming market for luxury goods will be enough to lure investors.
"They are the dominant jewellery player in China. It would surprise people in the West just how big they are," CLSA analyst Aaron Fischer told The Wall Street Journal.
Chow Tai Fook is hoping to raise $3-$3.5 billion from the sale of mainly new shares in what would be the biggest IPO globally since Spanish bank Bankia SA's $4.4 billion listing in July.
China is forecast to be the world's top buyer of products such as cosmetics, handbags, watches, shoes and clothes by 2015, according to consultancy PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
Chow Tai Fook has a vast network of stores in China plus outlets in Macau, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. It also has diamond cutting facilities in South Africa and China, and manufacturing plants in China and Hong Kong.
It plans to expand its number of chain stores to more than 2,000 by the end of 2016, according to its website.
Italian luxury fashion house Prada used Hong Kong as a gateway to tap the Chinese market earlier this year when it raised $2.14 billion ahead of a listing on the Hong Kong stock exchange.
Weak market sentiment pushed Prada to price its Hong Kong shares at the lower end of the range, although it subsequently issued more stock to boost the total amount raised in the listing to more than $2.46 billion.
Prada shares were 6.20 percent higher at $HK39.40 at midday on Monday, almost level with their IPO price of HK$39.50.
China's deep capital pool helped Hong Kong claim the title of the world's biggest IPO market in 2010 -- for the second year in a row.
Firms raised more than $50 billion in Hong Kong IPOs last year, including two monster sales by Asian insurer AIA and Agricultural Bank of China.
But global market turmoil and economic uncertainty have taken the wind out of the city's IPO market this year, with several major raisings being trimmed back or cancelled.
JP Morgan Chase & Co, HSBC Holdings PLC, Deutsche Bank AG and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are the global coordinators of the Chow Tai Fook IPO, according to Dow Jones Newswires.