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Monday, March 23, 2020, 15:22
Hong Kong bourse bangs virtual gong on IPO in time of virus
By Bloomberg
Monday, March 23, 2020, 15:22 By Bloomberg

Hong Kong’s stock exchange welcomed its newest stock with a virtual gong-banging ceremony as the Asian financial hub seeks to keep business going amid a partial lockdown that has now lasted for almost two months to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

InnoCare Pharma Ltd, a Chinese mainland biotech firm, on Monday became the first IPO to debut via a virtual listing ceremony at HKEX

InnoCare Pharma Ltd, a Chinese mainland biotech firm, on Monday became the first initial public offering to debut via a virtual listing ceremony at Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd, following similar events in both Shanghai and Shenzhen on the mainland. The shares rose 11.2 percent to HK$9.95 as of 11:30 am, even as the benchmark Hang Seng index slid almost 3.3 percent.

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InnoCare, which also moved its presentations to investors online ahead of the IPO, successfully priced a US$288 million transaction earlier this month at the top of its range amid one of the worst market routs in more than three decades. Normally a festive affair, a listing usually attracts hundreds of people including executives, bankers and lawyers as well as caterers.

Hong Kong, which has seen a recent spike in coronavirus cases, has restricted travel into the city, forcing most visitors to self-quarantine for 14 days. The virus has infected more than 300,000 people globally and killed almost 15,000, and is set to trigger a steep drop in economic activity across the world.

The Shanghai Stock Exchange arranged a virtual listing starting Feb 23, starting off with a company from Hubei, the heart of virus outbreak. Shenzhen Stock Exchange also welcomed its first “cloud listing” on March 6.

READ MORE: Shanghai holds 1st online listing ceremony amid epidemic

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