Great Wall seeks up to HK$1.6b growth cash

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 May, 2007, 12:00am

Great Wall Motor, China's largest maker of pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles, is raising as much as HK$1.608 billion as it seeks to expand product amid rising demand in the country.

The company is selling 151.07 million new shares at HK$10.65, a 9.75 per cent discount to its last closing price of HK$11.80 on Thursday.

Trading was suspended yesterday.

DBS Vickers' analyst Vincent Ha said at the top end of the range the share sale valued the company at 15 times earnings.

The deal would remove a big overhang on Great Wall's share price, Mr Ha said.

Investors were likely to welcome the sale of H shares for funding instead of selling shares in the mainland's A-share market as the company had indicated, he said.

On Monday, Great Wall said that it may abandon a share sale in Hong Kong and choose a Shanghai listing, a plan it shelved three years ago because of an industry slump.

JP Morgan and ABN Amro are arrangers of Great Wall's latest share sale.

Great Wall's cash call came after the Hebei-based company said in March it would make more economy cars this year to broaden its customer base.

The company plans to sell 20,000 economy models this year of the targeted total 120,000 unit sale, and increase the portion to 50 per cent of next year's projected sales of 200,000.

Great Wall is also actively seeking overseas sales of its SUVs and pick-up trucks to the Middle East and Russia.

The company expects domestic sales will provide 66.7 per cent of sales this year. By next year, exports are expected to account for half the total.