The demand for business valuation in Hong Kong has been growing steadily over the years along with the growth of the number of listed companies in Hong Kong. Listed company requires business valuation to fulfill the requirements of fair value accounting. Business valuers or appraisers are also appointed in acquisition or disposal transaction to support the board of directors’ decision making and provide formal documentation of the rationale of setting the price of a deal. Besides, business valuation is also involved in transactions in private companies, fundraising, project tender, litigation process (such as matrimonial cases) and assessing tax implications.
Another reason for seeking valuation opinion is to deal to increasingly stringent regulations regarding valuation. The SFC of Hong Kong has become increasingly concerned that some listed companies are acquiring assets at unreasonably high prices or selling assets which are substantially undervalued. Appointing professional valuer ensures that the whole valuation of a particular project or company is transparent and justified.
Business valuation is a systematic process to determine the economic value of a business or company as at a specific valuation date. Key concepts in business valuation includes ownership rights, the base of value, appropriate valuation methodology, reasonable valuation assumptions, economic and industry considerations, capital structure considerations, operating and non operating assets. Generally speaking, valuation is more of an art than a science. Business owners, management and potential buyers form their view of valuation from their own perspective. The role of business valuation professional is to balance the factors and make justified valuation conclusion. The key information supporting the valuation is well documented in a formal valuation report.
Financial modelling technique is essentials. Accounting and financial reporting knowledge are also important as you need to understand the financial statements. The bigger the valuation target is, the more accounting knowledge is required as the book and accounting policy is much more complicated for larger group or corporations. Experience in the industry also matters. Experience allows valuers to ask relevant questions and obtain necessary information from the company to support the valuation.
Business valuation is a specialized profession in Hong Kong. Unlike other most specialized professions, business valuation does not have a industry-wide institute and registered qualification in Hong Kong. Fortunately, International Valuation Standards published by International Valuation Standards Council provided solid guidelines for how a professional valuation engagement should be conducted. To me, a qualified valuation means should consider all material factors affecting the value of a business under the base of value selected. The disclosures in the report should be enough for the intended users of the report.
The importance and responsibility of performing business valuation is getting higher in the financial market. Business valuation will atract more attention in Hong Kong. The issues faced by valuation professional are getting more diverse and complicated. Development of necessary data and technology solution will the future of valuation industry.
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