JPMorgan pins hopes on IPO recovery in China

Sun Mar 11, 2012 5:44am EDT
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BEIJING (Reuters) - Twice as many firms in China are eager to list on the stock market now compared to a year ago as rising Asian share prices rebuild confidence among businesses, the head of JPMorgan's investment arm in the country said on Saturday.

Fang Fang, chief executive officer for JPMorgan China Investment Banking (JPM.N: Quote), said companies were mulling an array of fund-raising plans from initial public offerings (IPO) to sales of high-grade and high-yield bonds.

"Companies are all very tempted to come to the market now," Fang said in an interview in Beijing. "As we stand, the (IPO) pipeline today is almost double of the pipeline we had at this time last year."

Steelier risk appetites from companies allowed JPMorgan to handle more bond deals in China in January and February than the first six months of last year combined, said Fang.

Choppy financial markets had dented banks' profits last year as bankers struggled with trading losses and falling investing and lending activities. Goldman Sachs' (GS.N: Quote) Asian arm, for instance, swung into a loss in 2011 from a year-ago profit.

Fang declined to reveal how much money JPMorgan would like to earn from China this year except to say the bank wanted to grow its revenues from 2011, when its income fell from all-time highs struck in 2010.

ThomsonReuters data showed JPMorgan ranked fourth in equity and bond underwriting, and merger and acquisition deals in Asia Pacific excluding Japan last year, behind UBS UBSN.VX, Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse CSGN.VX. JPMorgan had ranked second in 2010.

Fang said the U.S. bank's revenues in January and February in China were less than forecast, but added he was hopeful they would improve between March and June when more firms get going with their IPO plans.

Without quantifying his forecast, Fang said JPMorgan could benefit from Chinese and European firms wanting to do more business with one other in the wake of Europe's debt crisis.   Continued...

Employees walk past the company logo at the JPMorgan Beijing office in Beijing December 13, 2010. REUTERS/Jason Lee