France's L'Occitane receives HKEx nod for IPO-source

HONG KONG, March 29 Mon Mar 29, 2010 12:08am EDT

HONG KONG, March 29 (Reuters) - French cosmetics retailer L'Occitane en Provence has received approval from the listing committee of Hong Kong's stock exchange for a $400 million to $600 million initial public share offering, a source close to the deal said.

L'Occitane, which sells body care products and fragrances in more than 70 countries including Britain, China, France, Japan, South Korea and the United States, will become the first French company to list in Hong Kong.

Founded in 1976 by Olivier Baussan, the company originally planned to launch its IPO in 2008, but postponed the plan because of the financial crisis.

The company chose Hong Kong over Paris for its listing because Asia was its fastest-growing market, the source said, adding that the company planned to start pre-marketing for the offering in early April.

CLSA, HSBC (0005.HK) (HSBA.L) and UBS (UBSN.VX) are underwriting L'Occitane's deal.

Bourse operator Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (0388.HK), which faces a slowing pipeline of IPOs from mainland China, is looking to attract listings from overseas markets to diversify its listing sources.

Russia's RUSAL (0486.HK), the world's biggest aluminium producer, floated around 10 percent of its stock amid great fanfare in late January, raising $2.2 billion to pay down debt. (US$1 = HK$7.75)

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