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Major IPO expected to raise US$293m

SICHUAN Expressway Co plans to raise up to 2 billion yuan (US$293 million) in the first major initial public offering on the Chinese mainland in 10 months.

The toll road operator will sell some 500 million yuan-denominated shares, accounting for 16.35 percent of its expanded capital, the Hong Kong-listed company said in its prospectus to the Shanghai Stock Exchange yesterday.

The company, which will receive online subscriptions on July 15, will spend 1.1 billion yuan buying the entire share capital of Chengle Expressway Co, a highway construction company, and use the rest to pay bank loans.

Listing on the A-share market will offer a new financing platform for Sichuan Expressway because the company is hungry for cash to fund expansion, said the company's Wang Yonglei.

"Rebuilding highways in earthquake-hit Sichuan Province and the government's stimulus packages to boost domestic demand are two important opportunities for our development," Wang said.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission has allowed three smaller companies, Guilin Sanjin Pharmaceutical Co, Zhejiang Wanma Cable Co and Your-Mart Co, to be listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

Sanjin was 584 times subscribed for the key retail portion of its issue on June 30 and attracted 455 billion yuan in investor subscription funds.

Zhejiang Wanma Cable Co was 750 times subscribed on July 2 and attracted 345 billion yuan.

The regulator halted domestic new share sales in September on worries that too much equity supply might lead the market to collapse.

More than 30 companies, including China State Construction Engineering Co, Everbright Securities Co and China Merchants Securities Co, have been waiting to list on the main board after winning regulatory approval.

They are expected to offer more than 70 billion yuan worth of new shares.


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