Tietong looks to go public in two years

By Jonathan Yeung and Zhang Jin (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-12-07 09:30

China Tietong Telecommunications Corp, one of the mainland's six telecom operators, said it would seek an overseas listing in two years.

"We aim for a dual listing in Hong Kong and Singapore in two years if the conditions are ripe," Chairman Zhao Jibin told China Daily.

If conditions aren't good, he said, China Tietong would go for a Hong Kong listing first.

So far, the mainland's four biggest telecom giants - China Mobile, China Unicom, China Telecom and China Netcom - have traded their shares in Hong Kong. Only China Tietong and China Satellite Communications are not listed.

But before going public, China Tietong, which earns money mainly by providing telecom services to railways, will first try to boost its net assets and business scale to be able to compete with larger rivals.

"Efficient and sizeable net assets are a prerequisite for us to float shares in overseas markets," Zhao said.

As the unlisted firm is unable to raise money from the stock market, it will seek partnerships and issue bonds to establish a war chest to bankroll its expansion.

So far, China Tietong has worked with Hong Kong-listed CITIC Pacific to construct the GSM-R network, a new mobile communication scheme for railways.

The company also plans to raise 3 billion yuan (US$375 million) through a long-term bond sale in 2007. That will add to the 2 billion yuan (US$250 million) it has raised through a one-year bond sale this year.

"It's understandable that China Tietong is eager to boost its size," said Paul Chan, a telecom analyst at Hong Kong-based Taifook Securities. "At present, it's just too small to compete."


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