Prada squeezes underwriters with slim IPO fees

* Capped overall commissions at 1.9 percent acc to prospectus

* Compares with normal Hong Kong range of 2-3.5 percent


By Denny Thomas

HONG KONG, June 12 (Reuters) – Italian fashion house Prada Spa has proved to be a tough customer for underwriters of its up to $2.6 billion IPO, having capped the overall commission at 1.9 percent of the total offer which makes it among the lowest fees paid in recent Hong Kong IPOs.

Prada revealed in its prospectus released on Sunday that it will pay a base underwriting commission of 1.2 percent and up to 0.7 percent in incentive fees for the underwriting team.

Separately, a source told Reuters that the offer is five times subscribed. For details:

Last year, American International Group Inc paid 2 percent commission for its massive $20.5 billion of AIA Group Ltd, which was managed by 11 underwriters.

Banca IMI, CLSA, a unit of Credit Agricole, Goldman Sachs and UniCredit are the joint global coordinators for Prada’s offer, while ICBC and Mizuho Securities Asia Ltd are the joint lead managers.

The 1.9 percent underwriting fee compares with 3.25 percent paid by Samsonite International SA, the IPO of which last week raised $1.25 billion by selling shares at the bottom of a revised range.

Usually, the total underwriting commissions in Hong Kong initial public offerings (IPO) vary between 2 to 3.5 percent, depending on the size of the deal. However, some IPOs, such as the recently pulled Resourcehouse deal, offered as high as 4.3 percent in fees.

Historically, some large and government deals have offered lower fees. For instance, banks earned about $250 million in fees from AgBank’s $22.1 billion IPO last year, which was the lowest underwriting payout by China’s big four banks.

Still, for investment banks operating in Asia, equity capital market deals are big cash cows and make up for about two-thirds of all revenues.