December 19, 2019 / 12:50 PM / 5 months ago

HKEX boss Li sells $21.4 million worth of shares

HONG KONG (Reuters) - The CEO of Hong Kong stock exchange operator HKEX on Wednesday sold around $21.4 million worth of shares in the group, the company said on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) Chief Executive Charles Li speaks during their strategy briefing in Hong Kong, China February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Alun John

This is the first time CEO Charles Li has sold shares in Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd (HKEX) (0388.HK) during his nine years in the job.

The exchange operator has had a turbulent year. The company made an unsolicited $39 billion dollar bid for the London Stock Exchange (LSE.L), in September. But the company was forced to withdraw the bid a month later after failing to convince LSE’s management and investors to back the move.

HKEX’s trading volumes and initial public offerings fell over the summer as Hong Kong was hit by months of anti-government protests.

But two multi-billion dollar listings in the autumn, Budweiser’s Asia Pacific operations’ (1876.HK) IPO and Alibaba’s (9988.HK) secondary listing helped to push the exchange higher in fundraising league tables.

The Hong Kong exchange is in third place in global rankings for IPO fundraising this year, having raised $24.2 billion, behind Nasdaq and Riyadh, based on Refinitiv data. Riyadh’s exchange recently launched the up-to $29 billion IPO of Saudi oil company Aramco.

Refinitiv league tables do not include secondary listings. If the Alibaba listing were included, Hong Kong would have topped the chart with $37.1 billion.

Li sold 650,000 HKEX shares at an average price of HK$256.53 ($32.90) a share on December 18, the exchange filing showed, bringing his stake down to 0.03% from 0.08%. HKEX did not say why Li had sold the shares.

His current CEO contract runs until October 2021.

($1 = 7.7977 Hong Kong dollars)

($1 = 7.7971 Hong Kong dollars)

Reporting by Alun John and Twinnie Siu. Editing by Jane Merriman

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