Rusal shares drop in IPO debut

United Company RUSAL saw a decline in share price on the first day of trading on the Hong Kong Stock exchange as the price fell 8% to HK$9.94.

The world’s largest aluminum producer had placed the shares on the Hong Kong exchange at HK$10.80, but the price fell as Asian markets were down and aluminum demand has dropped recently.

RUSAL owner and CEO, Oleg Deripaska, was on hand for the debut and was not worried about the drop, reported Bloomberg.

“You’ve seen what’s happened with the financial situation in recent days. But we believe in the growth of the Asian markets. Today’s price is reasonable.”

The first Russian IPO in Hong Kong still managed to pull in $2.1 billion in investments, which the company will use to pay off its $14.9 billion in debt. The debt was a possible factor in the drop, says Helen Lau, an analyst at OSK Asia Holdings.

“The market sentiment right now isn’t very good. Investors are concerned about its debt risks. If the market outlook for aluminum improves and the potential risks diminish, people would be interested,” Lau said.

Deripaska also believes more money will be coming to Hong Kong, as Russian companies will look to take advantage of China’s growth.

“We believe it’s a nation of growth which has helped the world to overcome the financial crisis. We believe this is just a first step. There will be more Russian companies on the Hong Kong stock exchange. There will be more Russian money coming to Hong Kong,”
asserted Deripaska.

Aleksandr Fetisov, head of research at East Kommerts, said that Hong Kong is a natural place for Russian companies to find investment.

“I’ll name three reasons. First, the latest tendency for Russian companies, mainly resource companies, to list on the Hong Kong stock exchange is being driven by their desire to be closer to their consumers as most of their operations are done in the Asian region. The second reason is the less strict requirements for companies to conduct an IPO on the Hong Kong stock exchange. And thirdly, the crisis has showed just where exactly the center of world business is shifting to."