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Russian firms ditch London for Asia

Published time: March 31, 2008 07:14
Edited time: March 31, 2008 07:14

The wave of Russian companies listing in London may be coming to an end, with many now looking towards Asian bourses. Less stringent disclosure regimes and booming economies are the big draw.

Gazprom announced in November it was looking at a Shanghai listing.

In January the world’s biggest aluminium maker Rusal moved its placement from London to Hong Kong in the third quarter of this year, according to the Financial Times. The origins of Rusal boss Oleg Deripaska are being probed by the British courts.

Now Asia’s first integrated bourse Singapore is in Moscow for talks with Russian majors.

“If you look at our foreign companies only half of them are from China, the rest from different parts of Asia and as far as Europe. Our procedure is very transparent, the whole listing time from the announcement you want to do it to the time you list is only 6 weeks,” confirmed Lawrence Wang, executive VP of Singapore exchange.

A Russian shipping company is favourite to list first in the world’s biggest port city.

“There are a lot of the global competitors of Russian shipping companies traded in Singapore. Therefore in a way it is not very surprising that the largest Russian companies think about listing in Asia,” Dr. Reinout Koopmans from equity capital markets of Deutsche Bank, said.

Transport expert Eduard Faritov at Renaissance Capital says the Russian shipper with the closest Singapore ties is Primorsky Shipping Corporation, whose CFO is based there.

Known as Prisco, the company has a history of innovation, becoming the first shipper to go public in Russia back in 1992.

Exchange reviewer Standard & Poor’s told RT the first Russian listing in Asia could already happen this quarter.

“Any time, it takes 18 weeks, I know a few companies have been there in talks. Now that we have the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in New York, and in London there are talks that listing requirements for foreign companies might become stricter,” affirmed Russian director of Standard and Poors Svetlana Borodina.

This week the Hong Kong exchange is coming to Moscow to prove it is even better placed for tapping China, the world’s fastest growing economy.

It is being followed next week by Messrs Sarbanes and Oxley. They face a struggle to turn back the tide of listings they themselves scared East.

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