HONG KONG - Chinese chemicals maker Lumena Resources Corp began marketing a Hong Kong IPO on Monday to raise up to $190 million, according to sources familiar with the matter, testing investor sentiment for new listings in the city.
IPO issuance in Hong Kong is down 72 percent thus far this year, according to Thomson Reuters data, but a near 67 percent surge in the Hang Seng Index .HSI since a March trough has prompted numerous hopefuls to consider reviving listings that were put on hold last year, banking sources have said.
Lumena and its owners are selling 577.2 million shares, or 30 percent of the firm's enlarged share capital, at HK$1.72-HK$2.56 each in a deal that values the company at 5.3-7.8 times forecast 2009 earnings, said the sources, who had direct knowledge of the deal but were not authorised to speak about it.
At the high end of pricing, the IPO would be the world's seventh-largest this year, Thomson Reuters data show, and the second-largest in Hong Kong, after the $1.3 billion May offering by Chinese aluminium extrusion products maker China Zhongwang Holdings.
Shares in Zhongwang now trade nearly 11 percent above their offer price.
Investor interest in new listings has been guarded this year, with Hong Kong retail investors failing to subscribe for all of the shares allocated to them in the Zhongwang IPO.
There are some attractive stocks at good valuations in the cash market so there isn't much focus on IPOs at this point, said Patrick Yiu, associate director with CASH Asset Management.
Success of individual IPOs has much to do with line of business companies are involved in, for example a Chinese property or materials company will find many buyers, he said.
Sichuan-based Lumena produces thenardite, which is a solid form of sodium sulphate and an important raw material for the production of powdered detergents, dyes, textiles, glass, kraft pulp and pharmaceutical products.
The company's underwriters forecast it to earn 521 million yuan ($76 million) this year and 857 million yuan in 2010, according to one of the sources.
Pricing is set for June 10 with a trading debut of June 16. Lumena will be listed under the symbol 0067.
Of the shares to be sold, 70 percent would be new and 30 percent would be existing shares, the source said.
The banks handling the IPO are Credit Suisse, Macquarie and BOCI.
Several companies are considering launching IPOs in Hong Kong, as the market for offerings thaws after months of little activity.
Other hopefuls include Canada-listed mining group SouthGobi Energy Resources, which is looking to raise between $200 million and $250 million in a Hong Kong listing over the next few months, a source told Reuters on Monday.
Chinese sportswear retailers Fujian Peak Group and 361 Degrees are also eyeing third-quarter Hong Kong listings to raise a combined $400 million, the South China Morning Post reported last week. (US$1=HK$7.8=6.8269 yuan)
(Editing by Chris Lewis and Muralikumar Anantharaman)