GUANGZHOU Shipyard Plant, a Hongkong listing candidate, expects to launch its shipping transport business by mid-year by setting up a cross-border joint venture. The company intends to take the major share in the 20 million yuan (about HK$26.9 million) project, which will involve a Hongkong shipping company and another Hongkong firm which owns pier facilities. The fourth partner will be a China shipping company. ''We are now reassessing the feasibility report to study its profitability,'' said Guangzhou Shipyard director Ren Fuwei. ''But the project will definitely go ahead.'' He said the business initially would operate a service between Guangzhou and Hongkong, with Macau possibly included in the future. The major initial investment for the project would be the purchase of four ships. Mr Ren said the final plan had not been settled as a number of Taiwanese and American companies had shown interest in the enterprise. Guangzhou Shipyard has also teamed with two other companies in Xinhui to establish a ship scrapping company. Initial investment was expected to be about 30 million yuan, most of which would be used to buy equipment. Guangzhou Shipyard has taken a 70 per cent holding in the scrapping business, with the two mainland partners taking up the remaining 30 per cent. Preparatory work is proceeding on the 170-hectare site, which is expected to begin operations in the first half of the year. ''We hope that the new company will later engage in ship repairing as well,'' Mr Ren said. Guangzhou Shipyard is one of nine China companies selected to seek listings on the Hongkong stock exchange. Accountant Coopers and Lybrand has finished its stock-take of the company and has started the roll-back test for the past three years. Asset appraisal is being conducted by Sallmanns Far East. Mr Ren said he expected to make a decision by the end of January from 20 merchants banks and six law firms which have offered professional services for the company's flotation bid.