Bengang Steel Plates Co, an offshoot of China's fifth-largest steel-maker, Benxi Iron & Steel Co, is hoping to raise $952 million by selling 400 million B shares on the Shenzhen stock exchange next month. The shares are priced at $2.38 each, putting them on a price-earnings multiple of eight times last year's earnings of 361.5 million yuan (about HK$337.8 million). Trading is expected to begin on or before July 11. The company has authorised its underwriters to issue up to an extra 60 million shares as an over-allotment option. Shenyin & Wanguo Securities is lead underwriter for the sale while ABN-Amro Rothschild is the international co-ordinator. Bengang's operations are focused on the production of hot-rolled thin gauge and medium gauge steel plates. Last year, it accounted for 14.52 per cent of hot-rolled steel plate sales in China. It made a net profit of 322 million yuan last year, up sharply from 201.5 million yuan in 1995. Bengang plans to adjust its product mix to take advantage of differences in Chinese steel quality and quantity, which is expected to widen in coming years.