Shanghai property developer CIFI Holdings is planning a pre-listing roadshow as early as next week, following the listing of Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical last week.
The property company hopes to raise as much as US$250 million by selling about 1.3 billion shares.
The proceeds will be used to buy land and repay bank loans, according to two sources familiar with the deal.
One source said the firm began a week-long pre-marketing campaign yesterday to gauge investors' appetite. It will start the roadshow on Monday and begin selling the shares to retail investors from November 13.
If everything goes smoothly, the shares could begin trading on November 23.
"The new shares sale of CIFI is likely to be priced at a distressed level, offering a price to NAV (net asset value) discount of more than 60 per cent," said a fund manager, who declined to be named.
The manager said most private enterprises received a higher discount because their shares were more volatile and corporate governance structures were less transparent than state-owned companies.
Government-owned companies tend to perform well because they have to strictly follow instructions from the State Council and adhere to the national policy, such as the 12th five-year plan to 2015.
"In the face of poor market demand for new shares, a large discount from CIFI could provide a buffer to investors who have been extremely sceptical of the performance of newly listed shares," said the manager.
Shares of Fosun Pharmaceutical closed lower than their issue price on their debut last week even though they were priced at the low end of the valuation range.
Other candidates expected to list on the stock market after CIFI are Jiangsu Future Land and Modern City Development, which are looking to raise a combined US$300 million, according to sources.
Meanwhile, the much-delayed PICC listing is also expected to hit the market early next month after the company slashed the offer size by half to US$3 billion.
That said, the opportunity to raise funds has grown because there has been a gradual improvement in investor appetite for property companies. These companies had suffered from a credit squeeze and government policies to curb property prices since 2010.
People familiar with CIFI's share offering did not give the number of cornerstone investors that will be involved.
Such institutional investors, which commit their participation early in return for a sizeable portion of shares, have become crucial to any successful initial public offering in Hong Kong's subdued market.
Cornerstone investors usually agree to not selling their shares for six months, giving jittery smaller investors the confidence to subscribe to the offering.
Prudential Financial of the United States and the International Financial Corp raised their commitment to Fosun Pharmaceutical's offering to a combined US$75 million, up from US$50 million in the initial proposal.
Haitong Securities, the country's second-biggest broker by asset, secured US$557 million from 11 cornerstone investors in its offering in April. The amount represented about one-third of the entire deal size.