Global Opportunities: Hong Kong

The big picture for HK floats looks bright

Traders work on the trading floor of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on the first day of trading after Chinese New Year in Hong Kong, China, on February 4, 2014.
Lam Yik Fei | Bloomberg | Getty Images

After a painful third quarter brought about by the depreciation of the renminbi and a rout in Chinese shares, investors in Hong Kong may have reason to cheer once more after Thursday's upbeat debut of IMAX China and Regina Miracle in the stock market.

Shares of IMAX China, a subsidiary of IMAX Corp which makes specialized film screens, ticked up to HK$33.25 ($4.29*) from the initial offering price of HK$31 a share while Regina Miracle, a Chinese bra-maker that supplies to brands such as Victoria's Secret, climbed 12.5 percent from the sale price to HK$6.30 ($0.81) during trade on Thursday.

The stocks climbed again on Friday, with IMAX up a further 2.2 percent in early trade and Regina up 3.7 percent.

"Today was definitely a good day to be listed," Dickie Wong, an Executive Director at Kingston Securities told CNBC on Thursday. "We are seeing the Hong Kong stock market rebound quite significantly from last week."

Last week, IMAX China said on its website it offered 62 million shares - 17.4 percent of its total shares - at an initial price of HK$31 ($4), raising approximately $248 million.

IMAX's big bet on China IPO: CEO
IMAX's big bet on China IPO: CEO

Regina Miracle issued 295 million new shares at HK$5.60 ($0.72) each, raising $213 million, according to reports.

The uptick in IMAX China and Regina Miracle's share prices bodes well for two upcoming multibillion dollar listings. China Huarong Asset Management and China Reinsurance are expected to raise as much as $5 billion and will make their debut on the Hong Kong stock exchange next week, according to reports.

The mini revival comes after a slowdown in third quarter initial public offer debuts in Hong Kong, as the effects of China's economic woes trickled down from the mainland. Between January and September, there was a 7 percent decline in the number of newly listed companies on the Hong Kong stock exchange from a year before, according to a Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) report.

There have been 83 listings this year on Hong Kong's twin boards so far this year, said PwC. The Main Board lists bigger companies with substantial profit records while the Growth Enterprise Market is geared towards smaller, growing companies.

On a more positive note, the PwC report said this year companies raised HK $156.3 billion ($20.17 billion) from the share sales, 19 percent more than a year ago.

The IPO momentum in Hong Kong is expected to continue, despite the volatility surrounding Chinese markets, observers say.

Read MoreChina stocks rally as trading resumes

Edward Au, co-leader of the national public offering group at Deloitte China, told CNBC the Hong Kong stock exchange currently has over 100 active IPO applications.

Companies are trying to capitalize on low interest rates before the expected hike from the U.S. Federal Reserve, which could come as early as December this year. Once rates are up, there will be a new wave of uncertainties affecting markets, said Au.

The decision to list is also influenced by competitors, he added. If market leaders are already raising funds in the stock market, companies fear being left behind. "If they miss the window, the gap between the top and the second will get bigger," said Au. "I think they will lose the market edge."

In a note, Deloitte said it expects Hong Kong to remain one of the top three IPO destinations in 2015, in terms of funds raised. Earlier this year, Hong Kong lost Alibaba's $25 billion listing to New York after a regulatory dispute.

Deloitte said weak economic outlook for China, slowdown of offerings in other key stock exchanges, uncertainties around the U.S. interest rates, and the suspension of IPO activities in Shanghai will help Hong Kong stay on near the top. The note estimates Hong Kong to have about 120 new listings raising approximately HK $240 billion ($31 billion) for 2015.

But not everyone is convinced this is a good time for Chinese companies to list their IPOs.

Read MoreChina volatility cements HK's finance hub crown

Philippe Espinasse, a former capital markets banker and author of IPO: A Global Guide told CNBC by email: "There are signs of life in the Hong Kong IPO market after a long summer lull but investor demand (and retail investor demand in particular) remains subdued and issuers should be realistic about what can be achieved in terms of valuation and offer sizes."

"The pipeline still includes many issuers from the financial sector. The outcome for these deals will be negatively impacted by the poor performance of the Chinese markets and the slowing economy on the mainland, not to mention the predicted rate hikes by the Fed over the next few months," he added.

*As of 9 October 2015