Freight forwarder shelves fund bid

Investors were left scratching their heads yesterday when freight forwarder Ideal Pacific Holdings said it had no immediate plans to launch two fund-raising exercises it had foreshadowed last month.

Ten days ago, vice-chairman Helen Fu Wai-hung revealed plans for a $100 million cash call to fund a new multi-purpose storage facility in eastern China and a US$4 million syndicated loan for a depot in Pudong.

Yesterday, however, she said the plans had not been finalised.

The proposal to build the storage facility was still being studied and the firm was still looking at how it would raise the $4 million for the depot, she said.

The depot, if built, would be the firm's third in Shanghai. It would own 51 per cent.

'Talks with the partner on the new depot are still under way. We hope we can reach an agreement within the next 12 months,' Ms Fu said.


'Meanwhile, we are conducting a feasibility study on the multi-purpose storage [facility] which may take us six months to finish.' The storage is designed to offer services including freezing and bulky-goods storage.

Ideal Pacific yesterday reported 5 per cent growth in full-year attributable profit to $60.4 million, on turnover of $513.7 million, up 3.4 per cent.

Directors recommended a final dividend of five cents, the same as for the previous period. Shareholders can opt for a scrip dividend.

Despite the profit growth, earnings per share fell 10.49 per cent to 14.5 cents.


Chairman Alfred Ip Man-man said Ideal Pacific had a debt-to-equity ratio of 28 per cent, slightly up on the previous 27.5 per cent, which he described as affordable.

Ideal Pacific had two outstanding bank loans, one of which was a $4 million borrowing it had spent on acquiring another 25 per cent stake in Shanghai Hero Depot, he said. It now owned 80 per cent of Shanghai Hero.


Both Shanghai United Asia and Shanghai Hero were expected to contribute full-year profit this year, he said.

'We plan to have more depots in coastal cities along the Yangtze River this year,' he said, adding that this might be done by acquisitions or co-operation with existing operators.