Many companies that reported plans for US listings to China’s securities regulator are now targeting exchanges nearer to home
SHANGHAI: Chinese companies are putting off plans for U.S. listings as tensions between the world’s top two economies rise, lawyers, bankers, accountants and regulators involved in what has been a major capital-raising route told Reuters.
The drop in interest, especially from those in the early stages of planning, is the result of a proposed U.S. legislation that would make it harder for some Chinese firms to debut in America and mounting scrutiny following an accounting scandal at Chinese Starbucks rival Luckin Coffee.
“We have seen clients putting their U.S. IPO plans on hold for now,” said Stephen Chan, a partner at law firm Dechert LLP in Hong Kong. “The underlying reason for the slowdown is the relationship between the U.S. and China,” he added.
“If tensions between the two nations remain, we would expect the slowdown to continue,” Chan said.
Chinese groups have raised $1.67 billion via initial public offerings in New York this year and are looking to raise about half billion more on U.S. exchanges, Dealogic data shows.
In 2019, they raised $3.5 billion.
Sino-U.S. relations have nosedived in recent months with the countries, already at odds over trade, now butting heads over the COVID-19 pandemic and China’s proposed national security law for Hong Kong.
Enquiries about U.S. listings have halved this year at one of the big four accounting firms in China versus 2019 levels, a senior auditor from the firm said.
Many companies that reported plans for U.S. listings to China’s securities regulator, marking an early stage in the process, are now targeting exchanges nearer to home, said a person close to the regulator.
The China Securities Regulatory Commission did not respond to requests for comment, while the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission declined to comment.
Listings take at the minimum several months to arrange, involving appointing advisers, preparing a prospectus and obtaining regulatory approvals. The further along the path a company is, the less likely it is to change plans.