Orange grower to show off his IPO produce

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 July, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 18 July, 2005, 12:00am

Asian Citrus Holdings will be in Hong Kong today to market an initial public offering of up to $205 million on London's Alternative Investment Market (AIM).

Asian Citrus, China's largest orange grower, originally planned to float in Hong Kong. Its defection to London reflects the keen competition among exchanges.

'The London Stock Exchange was very active in approaching us. We met the exchange's representatives in January this year and decided to go public there then,' chairman Tony Tong Wang-chow told the South China Morning Post in an interview yesterday.

The London exchange has been actively competing for new mainland listings both on its main board and on the AIM second board in recent years and set up a representative office in Hong Kong last year.

Some listing sponsors have complained that the local stock exchange devotes all its attention to giant offerings, while neglecting smaller ones. Mr Tong confirmed that this was one of the factors that pushed his company away from the local bourse.

AIM secured 216 new listings in the first five months this year, raising a combined $21.2 billion. In the same period, Hong Kong's Growth Enterprise Market hosted only two new listings, seeking a combined $82 million.

Last year, the mainland's largest international carrier, Air China, altered its plans for a dual listing in Hong Kong and the United States at the last minute - replacing the US with a London listing instead.

The roadshow for Asian Citrus' offering started in England two weeks ago. According to sources, the firm plans to place new shares which equal around 20 per cent of the existing issued capital.

The order book is due to close on Thursday and the trading debut is scheduled for July 28. Evolution Securities and Evolution Securities China are the share sale adviser and broker, respectively.