(Adds analyst comment)
HONG KONG, June 11 (Reuters) - China Youran Dairy Group raised $643 million in its Hong Kong initial public offering (IPO) by pricing its shares at the bottom of an indicated price range at HK$6.98 each, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the matter.
China Youran did not respond to a request for comment. The sources could not be named as the information was not yet public.
The company had flagged its shares would be priced between $HK6.98 to $HK8.66 each, according to regulatory filings when the deal launched on Monday.
At the top of that range, Youran would have raised $800m.
The demand from investors was weaker than anticipated because the dairy industry was not seen as a hot sector, according to one source with direct knowledge of the matter who did not have permission to speak to media.
Investors were also concerned about the risk of a potential stock overhang that could be created if $460 million worth of convertible notes issued in November to pre-IPO investors are swapped into shares over the next two years.
Those investors were led by PAG, Bain Capital, Bank of China and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China , according to Youran’s prospectus.
“Hard to pitch to investors in Youran knowing that down the road there will be another chunk of shares coming up,” said Toh Zhen Zhou, analyst at Aequitas Securities, who publishes on the Smartkarma platform.
“So even if I really liked the company and valuation was reasonable, I would scale back your position in the IPO bookbuild. The book runners are obviously aware of this, hence the bottom-end pricing to entice investors.”
China Youran, backed by private equity firm PAG, was spun off from Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group.
China is the world’s third-largest milk producer, but last year’s 34 million tonnes of output only met about 70% of domestic needs.
Youran Dairy shares will start trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange next Friday. ($1=1.3912 New Zealand dollars) (Reporting by Scott Murdoch in Hong Kong; additional reporting Sophie Yu in Beijing; Editing by and Stephen Coates)