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Goldman Sachs Has Practically Vanished from Hong Kong’s IPO Scene

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) has nearly vanished from the Hong Kong IPO scene this year, launching its second Hong Kong listing of the year only this week.

According to data compiled by Bloomberg, Goldman has worked on only one completed listing in the city this year; Guotai Junan Securities Co.’s $2.2 billion share sale in March. The Wall Street bank is currently ranked 30th among Hong Kong IPO arrangers, trailing lesser-known competitors like Shanghai Pudong Development Bank Co. and Zhongtai International Securities Ltd. In 2014, Goldman Sachs ranked number one on the same list.

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The bank’s focus seems to have been diverted elsewhere this year, as it has arranged U.S. share sales for Chinese companies Sogou (a search engine operator) and express delivery provider Best. Goldman’s equity business is also doing well in other areas, ranking second among arrangers on Hong Kong equity deals overall thanks to its work on block trades, Bloomberg’s data shows.

“We have been very active in Hong Kong ECM [equity capital market] this year, leading the market in follow-ons, including the largest of 2017,” a spokeswoman for Goldman said to Bloomberg in an emailed statement. “We expect the IPO market to improve in 2018, a view reflected by our robust deal pipeline.”

But as regards IPOs, Goldman is underperforming what is in any case a weakening market. Hong Kong’s IPO market is heading for its worst year since 2012, and is poised to lose its position as top of the global IPO league table for first time in two years. The South China Morning Post reported that the aggregate value of IPOs on a market that depends increasingly on Chinese companies fell 77% in the third quarter.

This week, Goldman launched its second 2017 Hong Kong listing with a $64 million deal from orthopedic device maker AK Medical Holdings Ltd. According to Bloomberg, Goldman hasn’t led such an IPO that small in China since 2000.