HONGKONG Yaohan plans to raise $110 million through a placement to be used to finance new stores, reduce bank debt and provide working capital. The company plans to place 60 million new shares of 25 cents each, representing 20 per cent of the existing issued share capital of the company, with Nomura International (Hongkong) and New Japan Securities International (Hongkong). The placement will be at $1.89 a share, a 10 per cent discount to yesterday's close. The new shares are to be placed with independent third parties such as local and overseas professional investors or securities dealers not associated with the directors or substantial shareholders of the company or its subsidiaries. The new shares will rank pari passu in all respects with the existing issued share capital of the company. The placement is conditional to the stock exchange granting the listing and permission to deal in the new shares and completion of the placing agreement. The Japanese group is the retail arm of Mr Kazuo Wada's Yaohan International and operates 348 stores in 12 countries.