Argos Enterprise (Holdings') majority shareholders could rake in as much as HK$30 million from its proposed HK$54 million listing on the Growth Enterprise Market. Argos, whose main business is the operation of bus services in Nanjing, plans to offer 54 million shares of its total 180 million shares - or about 30 per cent of its share capital - at HK$1 each. Of the 54 million shares, 24 million are old shares held by the Wong family and its connected parties, who founded the company in 1997. After the sale, the family and connected shareholders will still control 70 per cent. By placing 30 million new shares and, after deducting listing expenses, the company stands to pocket net proceeds of HK$25 million. About HK$10 million will be used for the repayment of shareholder loans. The company's listing plans follow last year's drop in net profit by nearly 10 per cent - to HK$4.28 million. The fall in profit, coupled with the company's eagerness to pay off outstanding loans and to dispose of old shares, has led some market watchers to speculate that the existing shareholders are planning to cash out. Their concerns were given more gravity after a decision by the Nanjing authorities to terminate subsidies being paid to the company from next year. While Argos posted profits of HK$4.71 million in 1999 and HK$4.28 million last year, analysts say it would not have been possible without subsidies from the Nanjing authorities. In 1999 the local authority provided the company with subsidies worth HK$4.29 million. Last year the subsidy was HK$6.03 million. In yesterday's press briefing, executive director Ronnie Wong Man-chiu dismissed concerns about the company's ability to post profits without the government subsidies. He said that by selling old shares, instead of issuing more new shares, the company would be able to obtain a public float while making sure the interests of existing shareholders were not diluted. Mr Wong also blamed the inflated cost of fuel for last year's profit drop. General manager Aaron Yeung Wai-hung said he expected the local authority would instead relax its price control on bus fares to help the Nanjing operations continue to be profitable. Argos through Nanjing Argos, a joint venture with public bus operator Nanjing Public Transport, provides public and tourist transportation in the mainland city. In Nanjing, the operation controls 258 buses servicing eight public routes and three tourist routes. The bus operator recently also extended its business model to another Chinese city, Chongqing, with public buses in Wanzhou.