Standard Chartered Bank shares are likely to make their trading debut on the stock market on October 18. The date emerged yesterday in the wake of a confidential briefing given to the syndicate chosen to distribute the share issue. Neither the bank nor its advisers would comment, but the information, contained in press reports, is believed to be accurate. On the cards, as reported earlier by Business Post, is the issue of 5 per cent of the London-listed bank's shares in order to secure a secondary register in Hong Kong. The bank has earmarked a minimum of 10 per cent of the share issue for retail investors, but depending on demand this may be raised to 15 per cent. According to the reports the issue would be at a 2 per cent discount to the prevailing London price. Assuming an issue of 56.42 million shares and based on a prevailing share price of about 833 pence, the new shares could be priced at about HK$92.50 and would raise about HK$5.2 billion. The decision to seek a Hong Kong listing has long been a possibility given the bank's Asian focus. Group pre-tax profit for last year was GBP949 million (about HK$10.75 billion), of which GBP341 million was contributed by the bank's Hong Kong business. Pre-tax profit in other Asia-Pacific countries brought the Asian contribution to GBP586 million, or about 62 per cent, of group pre-tax earnings. Add GBP152 million from the Middle East and South Asia, and almost 80 per cent of revenues are being generated in the greater Asia region.