Hainan Airlines began placing shares yesterday for its delayed US$33.3 million B-Share flotation in Shanghai with trading expected to begin about July 1. The watchdog China Securities Regulatory Commission on Saturday put the finishing touches to the company's listing after being delayed for two months on differences with its majority shareholder, American Aviation Investment, a fund partially controlled by US financier George Soros. Lead underwriter J & A Securities Shanghai expected the placement of 71 million foreigners-only B shares at 47 US cents to be completed by as early as today. He said the sale would be priced at about 12 times this year's earnings on a pro forma fully diluted basis, or 13.6 times fully diluted basis. Either way, the multiple is the highest so far fetched by a B-share issue this year, as foreign investors scramble to be part of the world's fast-growing aviation sector. WI Carr Indosuez Capital Asia and SocGen-Crosby Securities (HK) are international co-ordinators for the share sale. WI Carr corporate finance director Xia Ying said: 'The placement's progress has been incredibly smooth. Hainan Airlines aims to have its shares traded in the pre- and post-handover period.' Concerns by the US fund about mainland regulations and listing requirements had earlier prompted it to refuse to sign the listing documents and disclaim responsibility for their accuracy. The problems were eventually resolved. Hainan Airlines' B-share sale of about 15 per cent of its enlarged share capital will dilute American Aviation Investment's stake in the company to about 21.2 per cent.