The controlling Ma family of Moulin International Holdings, a maker of spectacle frames, has sold 7 per cent of the company to Bankers Trust of the United States for almost $116 million, paving the way for a separate listing of its US operations. The deal is the latest of a string in which merchant banks or fund management houses have taken stakes in listed companies. Prime examples are Barings Asia Private Equity Fund's purchase of a 8.3 per cent stake in Chun Tai Holdings, a maker of consumer electronic goods, and Goldman Sachs' take-up of a 9.1 per cent interest in printing concern Hung Hing Group. Moulin yesterday said the Ma family had placed 141 million shares of the company at 82 cents a share and retained a 43 per cent stake. The shares closed yesterday one cent lower at 80 cents on 5.93 million shares traded. Moulin chairman Ma Bo-kee said: 'As Bankers Trust becomes a strategic investor of our company, it will help us develop a long-term plan for our US-based business.' It is understood Moulin planned to float separately its jointly owned spectacle distribution company on the US stock market next year. Mr Ma would not rule out the possibility of a separate listing but said the company might also contemplate mergers and acquisitions of related companies in the US. Moulin bought a 20 per cent stake in an unnamed joint-venture six months ago and is to raise its stake to 50 per cent by the end of the year before the listing. The profitable joint venture has been marketing Moulin's spectacles for a number of years. The joint venture is expected to become Moulin's listed flagship in the US - its largest market. Moulin's net profit rose 61 per cent to $130 million in the year to March last year.