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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

China builder to raise US$7b from share sale

BEIJING: The Chinese company that built the "Water Cube" swimming centre for the Beijing Olympics said yesterday it hopes to raise up to US$7.3 billion (US$1 = RM3.54) in the world's biggest initial public offering (IPO) since March 2008.

The decision to let China State Construction Engineering Corp proceed with such a huge IPO indicates regulators believe China's markets have regained their strength after a plunge last year that prompted a ban on new offerings.

China's main market index is up more than 75 per cent this year and was the world's best performer for the first half of 2009.

"There will be no problem selling all those shares in the current market mood," said Mao Nan, an analyst for Oriental Securities in Shanghai.

State Construction will offer 12 billion shares at 3.96 yuan to 4.18 yuan (1 yuan = RM0.53) each, the firm said in a statement through the Shanghai Stock Exchange. That would bring in 50.1 billion yuan, or about US$7.3 billion, if all shares sell at the highest price.

State Construction said earlier it hoped to raise 42.6 billion yuan. The increase might reflect increased confidence in the price Chinese investors are willing to pay.

Regulators banned new IPOs in September after the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index plunged more than 65 per cent from its October 2007 peak. Investors worried that new IPOs would flood the market and further depress prices.

The moratorium was lifted in June after a surge in stock prices amid massive government stimulus spending.

State Construction is China's biggest builder of housing and is known for the "Water Cube" and other showcase projects such as the futuristic state TV headquarters and China's tallest skyscraper, the 492m tall Shanghai World Financial Center.

Its IPO would be the world's biggest since Visa's US$19.7 billion listing in March 2008, according to financial data firm Dealogic. It would be China's biggest since PetroChina Ltd in October 2007 and the country's fourth-largest to date.

State Construction said last year it received approval for an IPO before the moratorium.


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