Shares in Aquila Acquisition made a lukewarm debut in Hong Kong on Friday, despite marking the first special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) listing on the city’s bourse.
Aquila raised HK$1 billion ($128 million) by selling 100 million Class A shares at HK$10 each, according to its regulatory filings.
However, on the afternoon of their first day’s trading, the stock declined to HK$9.70, down 3% from the offer price of HK$10 each with only one live trade during the session.
There were two further cross trades, Refinitiv data showed. Market watchers blamed an unfamiliarity with SPACs for the thin trading.
SPACs are shell firms that raise money from institutional and retail investors via market listings, and put it in a trust for the purpose of merging with a private company and taking it public.
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) welcomed the SPAC listing on the exchange’s main board.
“The introduction of Hong Kong SPAC listings is an exciting development for HKEX,” chief executive Nicolas Aguzin said in a statement.
“It adds a new route to market for issuers, further diversifies our listing offering and helps us to play an even more important role in fuelling the aspirations of the companies of tomorrow,” Aguzin added.
HKEX introduced a SPAC listing regime in January after receiving “substantial market support” to its consultation.
As at March 17, HKEX had received 10 SPAC listing applications.
HKEX has said its SPAC listing framework focuses on “experienced and reputable SPAC promoters” and “providing another attractive route to listing in Hong Kong whilst ensuring appropriate investor safeguards”.
- Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard