Graff upbeat on $1 billion IPO despite market slump

Sun May 27, 2012 11:37am EDT
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By Denny Thomas

HONG KONG (Reuters) - London luxury jeweler Graff Diamonds has seen "tremendous interest" for its Hong Kong IPO of up to $1 billion, which is entering its final stretch in the shadow of a global stock market rout.

Famous for its giant and rare gems, Graff will on Monday test retail investors' appetite for what is set to be Asia's biggest IPO this year.

The IPO comes close on the heels of the botched $16 billion Facebook Inc (FB.O: Quote) offering, which has undermined investor confidence.

"We are building the book every day, we have tremendous interest in the company across the board, we are very happy," CEO Francois Graff said via a video conference from London, without elaborating how much demand the offer has generated.

Since Graff Diamonds' management began meeting institutional investors and fund managers on May 7, global stock markets have gone into a tailspin.

One of Graff's nearest rivals, Tiffany & Co (TIF.N: Quote), cut its sales forecast last week, blaming it on slowing demand from key markets such as China.

However, Graff executives were upbeat.

"I think it's important to understand that our target audience is extremely resilient and very much insulated to the general gyrations of world economies," Graff told a media conference to launch the Hong Kong offer.   Continued...

A suited bodyguard stands next to a jewellery display window during the Graff Diamonds IPO roadshow in Hong Kong May 21, 2012. Luxury jeweler Graff Diamonds, famous for its giant and rare gems, is forging ahead with a Hong Kong listing despite a sell-off that has rattled equity markets, setting a price range on Friday that would value the company at up to $4 billion. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu