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CNOOC Defies Bleak Market to Soar in Shanghai Debut

By Gina Lee – Chinese oil company CNOOC Ltd.’s shares surged as much as 44% in its debut on the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE (LON:SSE)) on Thursday. The company raked in CNY28.08 billion yuan ($4.38 billion) in China’s 11th-biggest public stock offering.

The stocks soared 28.8% to CNY13.91 ($2.18) by 12:42 AM ET (5:42 AM GMT), after starting trading at CNY12.96, which was above the offering price of CNY10.8. Trading in the shares was suspended after they hit the upper limit of the daily allowable price band for new listings after the SSE cited abnormal fluctuations.

The company’s Hong Kong shares (HK:0883) fell 3.23% to HK$10.8 after hitting a daily high of HK$11.64 ($1.48).

“CNOOC (NYSE:CEO) is being chased by investors who are seeking shelters in big caps with relatively low valuation and high dividends,” First Shanghai Group chief strategist Linus Yip told Reuters.

“The stock also whets market appetite at a time when oil prices are climbing and inflation accelerating.”

China’s largest offshore oil producer will use the proceeds to fund one gas and seven oilfield projects both in China and overseas, as well as replenish capital.

“CNOOC represents historic investment opportunities due to high oil prices, low valuation, and consistent high dividend yields,” Cinda Securities analyst Chen Shuxian said in a note, adding CNOOC’s market cap has the potential to double over the next few years.

The company’s debut comes amid a bleak market that saw an increasing number of stocks falling below initial public offering (IPO) prices. A third of the roughly 100 companies that have been listed in Shanghai and Shenzhen to date in 2022 dropped below offer prices on debut, according to data from East Money Information. Chipmaker Vanchip Tianjin Technology Co. Ltd. (SS:688153) and electronics firm Rigol Technologies Co. Ltd. (SS:688337) both saw their shares tumble by more than 30%.

The latest COVID-19 outbreak in China and the ensuing lockdowns, alongside heightened geopolitical tensions, also saw the main benchmark stock index tumble 18% in 2022 to date.

CNOOC’s Shanghai listing comes after it was delisted by the New York Stock Exchange in October 2021. Peers including PetroChina Co. Ltd. (SS:601857), as well as China Petroleum (NYSE:SNP) Engineering Corp. (SS:600339), are already listed in Shanghai.

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