RenCap Opens Hong Kong Branch as IPO Launchpad

Renaissance Capital announced on Monday the opening of a new Hong Kong branch, where it aims to build a base for Russian and CIS countries attempting to raise capital in Asia.

The office will employ securities traders and specialists in the metals sector and will give Asian institutional investors access to Russian stocks and consulting expertise, the company said.

"We are seeing a rapid growth of the number of merger and acquisition deals between Asia and other developing markets, so we are expanding our presence in Asia," said RenCap CEO Stephen Jennings.

"Hong Kong will become the global hub for resource and energy" in the near future, and access to Chinese capital was the chief reason for choosing Hong Kong over Singapore, another location considered for the Asian office, said Jeremy Sparrow, who will head the new office.

"[There are] a number of deals in the pipeline of companies from Russia, the CIS and Africa to begin trading in Hong Kong. For such companies, it would be easier to deal with an agent at a local office rather than 'parachuting into Asia,'" he said.

Sparrow expects "four to six public offerings by Russian companies before the end of the year, and about 10 in 2011."

United Company RusAl became the first Russian company to list in Asia in January, when it raised $2.24 billion in an initial public offering on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. RusAl's stock has fallen 22 percent in value since trading began, however, leading some to second-guess Russian firms' success in Asia.

But RenCap said RusAl's poor performance would not scare off other companies from listing. "Other corporates are not likely to be biased by RusAl's experience," Sparrow said.

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