* Will list depositary receipts; won't issue new shares
* Says listing demonstrates commitment to Asia
* Morgan Stanley sponsoring the listing
* Fast Retailing shares down 1.9 pct, outperforming Nikkei
(Adds CFO comments, HK listing context)
By Ritsuko Shimizu and Elzio Barreto
TOKYO/HONG KONG, Jan 27 Japan's Fast Retailing
Co Ltd will list in Hong Kong as the operator of the
Uniqlo casual clothing chain seeks to raise its Asian profile en
route to becoming the world's top apparel retailer by 2020.
Fast Retailing is focusing on Asia to help it quintuple
revenue to almost $50 billion, taking it past Zara operator
Inditex SA, Hennes & Mauritz AB ST> and Gap Inc
Asia's biggest clothing retailer by market value said on
Monday it will list in Hong Kong on March 5 to boost its
profile, demonstrate commitment to the region, and make its
stock available to a wider pool of investors.
The company said it plans to list Hong Kong Depositary
Receipts - which will allow investors to buy its Tokyo-listed
shares through the Hong Kong Stock Exchange - rather than by
selling shares to raise funds.
"We chose Hong Kong among the many bourses out there because
Hong Kong is the centre of financial markets in Asia," Chief
Financial Officer Takeshi Okazaki said at a Tokyo news
"By increasing brand awareness further, we're aiming to
accelerate our overall expansion."
Offering shares through other overseas exchanges is a
possibility as a strategy for raising the company's profile,
Morgan Stanley is sponsoring the Hong Kong listing, which is
pending approval from the bourse.
Shares of Fast Retailing, which have the most weighting in
Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei index, were down 1.9 percent on
Monday, after erasing some earlier losses. The Nikkei was down
Listing in Hong Kong for branding purposes has been popular
among companies looking to appeal to investors and consumers in
the city and the rest of Greater China.
Two companies have already taken that road in January,
compared with five for all of 2013 and just two in 2012.
Those listing without selling shares in the past few years
include U.S.-based luxury group Coach Inc and
casino operator Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd
Such listings - known as listing by introduction - have had
limited success compared with typical initial public offerings
because there are no new shares to trade. Coach's depositary
receipts were not traded over three straight days last week.
Companies and investment bankers have said listing by
introduction could serve as a platform to raise capital in the
future, but since 2010, only three of 24 companies have raised
funds after introductions.
Fast Retailing, which has built up cash reserves in recent
years thanks to growing sales, said its Hong Kong listing was
not aimed at raising funds.
In its most recent reporting quarter, in September-November,
Fast Retailing beat analyst expectations by reporting a 13
percent rise in operating profit, thanks to sales growth
especially in China where Uniqlo has 251 outlets.
A weaker yen also inflated the value of repatriated revenue.
($1 = 102.3550 Japanese yen)
(Writing by Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Edmund Klamann and