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Shares rally on financing for Shanghai FTZ

By Wei Tian in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2013-09-03 07:16

Shares of the major companies in the proposed Shanghai Free Trade Zone extended their bull market on Monday following the release of a financing plan, while stocks in other possible FTZs tumbled amid an overall flat performance of the market.

Shanghai Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone Development Co, the only listed company among the operators in the highly anticipated pilot area, reached its daily limit of a 10 percent increase when the market opened at 9 am.

The hike came after Waigaoqiao said in a filing to the Shanghai Stock Exchange on Friday it would raise up to 2.7 billion yuan ($441 million) for the initial stage of exploration in the area by issuing up to 267 million shares at 13.2 yuan per share at the lowest through a private offering.

The company said it would undertake the financing task for the development of the 28 square kilometer zone, which was officially approved by the State Council last month.

A total of 2.1 billion yuan of the capital will be invested in five projects, including a regional headquarters center for multinational companies, a distribution center for the Asia-Pacific region and platforms for logistics, trading and modern services, while the remaining 600 million yuan will replenish cash flow, the company said in the statement.

Waigaoqiao could not be reached for further comment on the issue.

As of August, there were 35 regional headquarters of multinational companies and nearly 200 operation centers in the Waigaoqiao bonded area. Waigaoqiao reported a net profit of 526 million yuan in the first half of this year, soaring 400 percent year-on-year. Revenue rose 37.2 percent to 3.98 billion yuan.

Apart from Waigaoqiao, shares of other major players in the Shanghai FTZ such as Shanghai Pudong Road & Bridge Construction Co and Shanghai Jinjiang International Industrial Investment Co also closed at the upper limit on Monday.

In comparison, other cities with expectations of building their own free trade zones saw the shares of related listed companies falling back from a bullish market last week. Tianjin Quanye Bazaar Co, Chongqing Road and Bridge Co, and several other logistics companies tumbled by the 10 percent daily limit.

The Shanghai Composite Index remained unchanged at 2098.45 when the market closed at 3 pm.

Yang Delong, chief strategic analyst with China Southern Asset Management, said although there are several other cities such as Chongqing, Guangzhou and Tianjin expecting to follow Shanghai's steps, the Shanghai FTZ is the only one with real content.

"The Shanghai FTZ will bring real benefits to the logistics, finance and trading sectors. Furthermore the coastal city also has an internationally recognized status, which is much more competitive than the speculative concepts in other cities," Yang said.

Last week, China's top legislature gave the green light to the State Council to suspend three laws in the proposed Shanghai FTZ to remove barriers restricting foreign investment in the area. The suspension will last for three years starting from October 1.

The Shanghai FTZ will be officially launched as early as later this month, Economy & Nation Weekly reported.

Chen Li, chief securities analyst with UBS AG, said although it is possible for the FTZ model to be expanded to other cities after detailed plans are published and carried out in Shanghai, other FTZs will not be as important as Shanghai and the policy dynamics will also be weaker.

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