Hubei Changjiang Publishing Group announced on Tuesday that it will go through a backdoor listing onto the Shanghai Stock Exchange, amid a growing trend for Chinese press and publishing companies to branch into the equity market.
Hubei Changjiang has plans to list through Shanghai Worldbest Industry Development Co Ltd, a Shanghai-listed clothing manufacturer that has been suspended from trading since October.
Shanghai Worldbest, which has fallen to "special treatment" status after a series of losses, will obtain assets of 2.5 billion yuan ($380 million) after receiving a portion of Hubei Changjiang and its subsidiaries through the deal, the company said in a statement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange on Tuesday.
The assets to be transferred, which cover the whole industry chain including publishing, printing and distribution, generated 2.3 billion yuan in sales and realized a net profit of 233 million yuan in 2010. It is expected to yield 257 million yuan in net profit this year.
After the move, assets from Hubei Changjiang will account for 65.76 percent of the listed arm's net worth.
The transaction is subject to regulatory approval.
"I think it is a piece of good news for both Shanghai Worldbest and Hubei Changjiang," Gu Jia, a senior industry analyst at Guolian Securities, told China Daily.
"For Shanghai Worldbest, Hubei Changjiang's good performance in the publishing industry and its stable financial condition throughout recent years will definitely give the listed company a boost in the market," he said.
"A backdoor listing is an easier way for Hubei Changjiang to get listed so as to seek further development. It saves a lot of time," he added.
Because the central government, for the first time, has urged making the cultural sector one of the pillar industries of China's economy during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), an increasing number of the Chinese press and publishing companies have tapped into the domestic equity market.
In December, Zhejiang Daily Press Group announced a plan to purchase a 64.62 percent stake in the Shanghai-listed toothpaste maker Shanghai WhiteCat Shareholding Co Ltd, also through a backdoor listing.
The country wants to see six or seven press and publishing giants in operation with annual revenues of more than 10 billion yuan in the next three to five years, according to official guidelines issued by the General Administration of Press and Publication, China's publishing industry regulatory body.
"Hubei Changjiang's move is part of its effort to become the industry leader in the future," said Gu at Guolian Securities.
The share price of Shanghai Worldbest hit the 5-percent daily increase limit for special treatment stocks to close at 7.72 yuan on Tuesday.