China Zhongwang Holdings, Asia's biggest maker of aluminum extrusion products, began marketing on Monday for a Hong Kong IPO to raise as much as $1.58 billion in what would be the world's largest new listing so far this year.
The company, which generates a large share of its business from the transport sector, including railways, is a beneficiary of China's 4 trillion yuan ($585 billion) economic stimulus package, a big chunk of which is being spent on infrastructure.
Zhongwang, a private sector company based in Liaoning province, plans to sell 1.4 billion shares, or nearly 26 percent of its enlarged share capital, at HK$6.80-HK$8.80 each ahead of a May 8 trading debut, two sources with direct knowledge of the deal said on Monday.
The sources could not be identified because they were not authorized to speak to the media on the deal. An investor education meeting was scheduled for Monday in Hong Kong.
The price range values Zhongwang at 10.4 to 13.5 times forecast 2009 profits, according to one of the sources, and at the high end would make the company worth about $6.1 billion.
China Railway Construction Corp Ltdtrades in Hong Kong at 19.4 times forecast 2009 earnings, while China Railway Group, the country's largest rail and highway builder, trades at about 18.4 times forecast 2009 earnings.
If successful, Zhongwang could be the largest initial public offering so far this year globally and the first to raise more than $1 billion since China South Locomotive raised $1.57 billion last August.
Proceeds will be used to expand capacity and for working capital, debt repayment and research and development.
Global IPO volumes have dropped nearly 96 percent so far this year, according to Thomson Reuters data, but the market rally of recent weeks has led several companies to revive listing plans.
The world's biggest listing this year was the $828 million February IPO by Mead Johnson Nutrition Co.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index is up about 38 percent from an early March low, and trading volumes have surged in recent weeks, bolstering conditions for Zhongwang's big IPO.
"With more liquidity in the market at the moment, I think it's going to be okay," said Alfred Chan, chief dealer at Cheer Pearl Investment Ltd in Hong Kong. "Any new IPO in the near future should be okay."
Citic Securities, JPMorgan and UBS are handling the IPO.
Hong Kong-based private equity firm Olympus Capital is among Zhongwang's shareholders.