ONE more firm operating in the region is to shun the Hong Kong stock exchange in favour of Singapore. China Merchants Hai Hong Holdings plans to float its shipping arm separately on the Singapore exchange. The company has announced a proposal to spin off Ming Wah (Universal) Shipping through a new issue of shares. It said 25 per cent of Ming Wah's enlarged issued capital would be offered to the public in Singapore. After the exercise, Hai Hong's stake in Ming Wah will fall to 75 per cent. Investment holding firm Hai Hong, whose parent is mainland-backed China Merchants, has another division, Lucky Dragon Investments, producing glass and paint products. It said Ming Wah's business, such as the chartering ships and transport of crude oil, dirty and clean products and iron ore, could benefit from the Singapore listing. Several firms have headed for Singapore's stock exchange since the last quarter of last year. Electronics products maker GPE Industries, toy maker Wah Shing International Holdings, plastic mould maker Lung Kee (Bermuda) Holdings, China's Tianjin Traditional Chinese Medicine and the Roly International Holdings are examples. GPE Industries is a subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Gold Peak Industries and Wah Shing, a separate listing of its parent, South China Industries. Analysts said the successful flotation of GPE industries in November sparked interest in listing in Singapore. GPE Industries was 15 times subscribed when being offered to the public in November. Many of the firms have been attracted by higher price earnings (PE) multiples in Singapore. Wah Shing's PE is two digits in Singapore, compared with a single digit for equivalent stocks in the territory, despite tougher listing standards in Singapore. Overseas holding firms must have achieved $82.5 million of pre-tax profit in the past three years and have at least $11 million pre-tax profit for each year.