Following is the speech by the Financial Secretary, Mr Henry Tang, at the Hong Kong Retail Bond Offering Launch Ceremony at Island Shangri-La Hotel this afternoon (July 7):
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:
It gives me great pleasure to be here today to announce the launch of the Hong Kong SAR Government bonds. This is a ground-breaking transaction, and one that, I am proud to say, gives retail investors an opportunity to invest for the future of Hong Kong.
I announced in my 04/05 Budget in March the Government's intention to issue bonds of an amount not exceeding HK$20 billion this year. Subsequently in May, the Legislative Council passed a resolution authorizing the Government to issue such bonds. And today, we are delivering on our stated intention in the Budget.
Following the issue of the securitisation bonds two months ago, this is yet another significant step forward taken by the Government. Over the years the Government has been devoting much effort in developing and strengthening the local bond market. We hope that through this offering, the Government would once again set an example and encourage both the Government-linked corporations and the private-sector enterprises to consider bonds issue to local investors as a means to raise capital.
With the Government bonds offered to both retail investors and institutional investors, this offering will help further extend the capabilities of our local capital market and reinforce the prominent position of Hong Kong as an international financial centre.
The people of Hong Kong take pride in having some of the best infrastructure and public facilities in the region. To further enhance our competitiveness, the Government is committed to continue to invest in capital projects that will bring long-term economic benefits. The Government bonds will provide an alternative source of capital revenue for us to continue with this mission. The offering will also give the Government greater flexibility in the management of public finance.
I am sure Hong Kong investors would be all very interested in investing in their own community. Indeed, we see the offering as an additional high-quality investment alternative for investors. To this end, we have all along been mindful of the need to cater to the interest and requirements of both institutional and retail investors in structuring the bonds.
In the next few days, my colleagues and I will be on the road to promote the international offering to institutional investors worldwide. We will meet with prominent figures in the global financial industry to impress upon them the latest development and opportunities in Hong Kong.
I would like to thank the Joint Global Coordinators, the Bookrunners, the placing banks and participating brokers for their support of this landmark transaction. I would also like to thank all other parties who are involved in the preparation and execution of this offering. With your contribution and hard work, I am sure this will be a highly successful offering.
The information contained herein does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy the securities of HKSAR Government in the United States. HKSAR Government's securities may not be offered or sold in the United States absent registration under the United States Securities Act of 1933 or an exemption from registration. Any public offering of securities in the United States will be made by means of an offering circular that can be obtained from the HKSAR Government, and the offering circular will contain detailed information about the HKSAR Government. No money, securities or other consideration is being solicited by this document.
The information contained herein also does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy HKSAR Government's securities nor shall there be any sale of such securities in any state or country in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such state or country.
Ends/Wednesday, July 7, 2004