Thursday, June 16, 2011

Samsonite Shares Tumble In Hong Kong Debut.

HONG KONG – Shares of luggage maker Samsonite International S.A. plunged on their first day of trading Thursday, amid waning investor interest in IPOs as global stock markets slide.

Samsonite shares fell as low as 12.96 Hong Kong dollars, or 10.6 percent, from their offer price of HK$14.50. They closed HK$1.12 or 8 percent lower at HK$13.38.

The world's biggest luggage maker is one of a number of foreign companies going public in Hong Kong, drawn by China's strong economic growth and rapidly growing number of consumers.

But Samsonite's listing comes as Hong Kong stocks follow global markets lower, hit by pessimism about the global economy.

The company raised HK$9.73 billion ($1.25 billion) by selling 672.24 million shares, though that amount was less than the $1.5 billion it could have raised because it failed to price the shares at the top end of the proposed price range.

It said the portion of the IPO allocated to big global investors was "moderately oversubscribed." Local Hong Kong retail investors, who play a big part in IPOs, applied for only 1.2 times the number of shares available to them.

Other foreign companies that have listed in Hong Kong this year include Swiss commodities trader Glencore and Macau casino operator MGM China. Italian fashion house Prada and luxury handbag maker Coach also plan listings.

However, other companies, such as Australia mining company Resourcehouse Ltd., have dropped plans to list in Hong Kong.

Samsonite was founded in 1910 in Denver, Colorado and is now incorporated in Luxembourg. The company plans to focus on developing its business in Asia, Chairman Tim Parker said at a listing ceremony at the Hong Kong stock exchange.

"We expect over the next few years to be developing our company extensively in Asia, in our biggest markets in China and India," Parker said. Samsonite also has "a major foothold in South Korea, Japan and many other markets in Asia, so we feel at home here," he said.