Man Sang International, which processes and trades pearl products, will start its $148.71 million share sale today. It will be the first of its kind in the stock exchange when share trading begins on September 26. The company plans to float 127.5 million new shares, or 27 per cent of the enlarged share capital, at $1.08 a share, with a one-for-five warrant issue. This takes the prospective price earnings ratio at 7.9 times. Man Sang expects net profit to grow at least 28 per cent to $60 million in the year to March, 1998. In the three months to June, net profit was $22.3 million. Last year, net profit grew 32.8 per cent to $46.9 million, helped by rising turnover of cultured pearls. Chairman Cheng Chung-hing yesterday said cultured pearls offered a higher profit margin than freshwater pearls. He said about $36 million of the $137.7 million net proceeds would be invested in cultured pearls processing facilities in Bao An, Guangdong. Mr Cheng was optimistic about prospects for the pearl industry, saying natural pearls were very rare and the market was dominated by cultured pearls. 'In recent years, China has become the largest exporter of freshwater pearls. With its rapid development in cultured pearl, China has superseded Japan's leading role in the market,' he said. Man Sang will sink $28 million into pearl farms in top pearl-producing countries. Another $14 million will be used to improve the company's purchasing power and processing facilities of South Sea pearls and Tahitian pearls. The company will spend $12 million promoting its jewellery operations with another $7 million earmarked for upgrading bleaching and polishing techniques. The remainder will be used to replenish working capital.