2004-01-20 10:31:10
IN BRIEF (Page: 7, Date: 01/20/2004)


Listing plan approved

Shareholders of China's second-largest copper firm, Jiangxi Copper Co Ltd, have approved its plan to issue more overseas-listed shares, a company official said last Thursday.

Shares in Jiangxi Copper fell 8.24 per cent, to close at HK$4.18 (53 US cents), last Thursday amid fears the firm would place a large tranche of H shares, analysts said.

The firm said in December it was seeking shareholder approval to increase its H shares by up to 20 per cent. However, a company official said that despite the approval Jiangxi had no timetable for issuing more shares.

Green's strong debut

Shares in Fujian-based China Green Holdings, the first company to list on Hong Kong's main board this year, were up 60 per cent, at HK$2.025 (26 US cents), after their Hong Kong market debut, compared with an initial public offering price of HK$1.28 (16 US cents).

Trading in the company's shares began Tuesday under the stock code 0904.

Green's listing saw record-breaking demand, and it was the first on Hong Kong's main board in 2004, extending a wave of excitement over mainland IPOs (initial public offers) that began at the end of last year with investors looking to cash in on the country's strong economic growth.


MTR's new subway

Hong Kong commuter rail operator MTR Corp agreed last Thursday to invest in a 6-billion-yuan (US$724.6-million) subway project in Shenzhen, a booming city in South China.

MTR will take a stake of at least 51 per cent in the project, a company official said. However, the exact size of MTR's stake has not been finalized.

MTR will participate in the construction and operation of the second phase of Shenzhen Metro Line 4, an extension stretching 16 kilometres, MTR Chairman Raymond Ch'ien told a news conference.

Registered capital for the project will be 2.4 billion yuan (US$289 million), and MTR will operate the line for 30 years under a build-operate-transfer arrangement, he added.

Construction of the line is expected to be completed by the end of 2008.

This will be MTR's first investment outside Hong Kong, and it has also been eyeing investment opportunities in Beijing and the United Kingdom, analysts said.


Refinery expansion

China plans to speed up refinery expansion projects over the next five years, due to pressure on its refining system from rising oil demand in the world's fastest-growing major economy.

Dominant State-refiner Sinopec Corp and its parent, Sinopec Group, PetroChina, and offshore player CNOOC are planning to combine to produce up to 80.5 million tons per year, or nearly 30 per cent, of China's refining capacity by 2008, China-based oil officials and analysts said.

The State-owned giants make up about 90 per cent of China's national refining capacity, at 270-290 million tons (tpy), or 5.4-5.8 million barrels per day.

"We are speeding up refinery expansions because of strong oil demand driven by economic growth and a lingering electricity shortage," said Chen Ge, secretary to the Sinopec's board of directors.

Sinopec is Asia's top refiner.

China, which the International Energy Agency said leads global oil demand growth, processed record amounts of crude in 2003 to fuel a near-10-per-cent rise in oil consumption.

(Business Weekly 01/20/2004 page7)

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