Prudential mulls HK, Shanghai listing

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Britain's Prudential Plc is studying a possible public offering in Hong Kong or Shanghai, becoming the latest multinational interested in listing in the fast-growing region, media reported yesterday.

Plans being considered could see the British insurance giant raise up to several billion US dollars in such an offering, Hong Kong's Economic Journal reported, citing an unnamed source.

It said the company was currently deciding where to list.

Prudential's new Chief Executive Tidjane Thiam discussed an Asia listing during a trip to Hong Kong this month, and has made some preliminary evaluations of Shanghai and Hong Kong, according to the report.

Last month, the Financial Times reported that Prudential would look to Asia as a source of capital and could even seek to raise equity there.

Following the success of a $750 million hybrid capital raising in the region this year, Thiam said he was positive over the prospect of further capital raising in Asia.

The robust capital flow to the mainland and Hong Kong capital markets has offered an attractive funding option to foreign enterprises.

Prudential's reported interest follows US gaming giant Wynn Resorts making a $1.6-billion Hong Kong IPO for its Asia assets, Wynn Macao, earlier this month. HSBC has also expressed interest in listing in Shanghai and may go public in the international board of Shanghai bourse.

The securities regulatory body is mulling new rules to regulate foreign enterprises that seek to get listed in the mainland market. The rules are expected to come out as early as the end of the year.

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