The collapse of investor faith in share markets could freeze several big share issues planned for the mainland and Hong Kong in the final months of the year, analysts warned yesterday. Three mainland telecommunications firms were poised to postpone new share offers scheduled for this year unless investor sentiment improved markedly, they said. Standard Chartered Bank's plan to secure a secondary listing in Hong Kong by the year-end is under a cloud following the massive sell-off triggered by further revelations of corporate accounting scandals in the United States. China Unicom Group, the mainland's No 2 mobile operator and parent of SAR-listed China Unicom, looked set to push back its plan to raise as much as 12 billion yuan (about HK$11.24 billion) this month through an A-share listing, sources said. They cited unfavourable mainland market conditions following the announcement of first-half corporate results and the apparent lack of appetite for large-scale offerings. China's largest fixed-line operator, China Telecommunications - which was expected to list by this autumn - would be forced to delay at least until the end of the year, analysts said. Analysts believed the collapse of investor confidence worldwide would push back Standard Chartered's plans to list before the end of the year. Spokesman Paul Marriage said last night that Standard Chartered remained committed to a Hong Kong listing but the timing would depend on market conditions. Until recently, the bank had said it was 'strongly committed' to completing its listing in the final quarter of the year. Mr Marriage said: 'Bank of China appears to have got its listing under way pretty successfully despite the conditions. We remain keen - but although that is an intention, we will have to wait and see what the market throws at us.' Shares in BoC Hong Kong (Holdings) - the local arm of the Bank of China - will debut on the Hong Kong stock exchange tomorrow. Bank analysts pointed out Standard Chartered had postponed last year's planned listing because of weak market sentiment and now found itself in the same position. 'So from this, you would expect it could be postponed again,' a London-based analyst said yesterday. Regulators gave China Unicom Group's listing the green light as early as March this year, according to its chairman, Yang Xianzu. Uncertainties surrounding the mainland government's share disposal plans had seen the market slump as much as 37 per cent in January from its peak in June last year, only to recover to about 24 per cent below the peak recently after Beijing put the disposal plan on hold. China Unicom Group hoped to break China Petroleum and Chemical's record 11.8 billion yuan A-share listing achieved last August. Hong Kong-listed China Unicom was itself hoping to raise up to US$5 billion this year by issuing new shares to finance plans to acquire up to 18 global system for mobile provincial networks from its parent. The plan looks far-fetched as the already weak global investment sentiment towards telecoms stocks has taken another beating in the wake of the WorldCom accounting scandal. China Unicom had appointed at least five international investment banks to market its planned new share issue to fund the acquisition, with executive director Shi Cuiming saying it hoped to complete the deal before the end of last year. DBS Vickers Securities analyst Wallace Cheung expected the China Unicom and China Telecom offerings to be delayed but said telecoms firms might still raise funds from the debt and bond markets. '[The delays] do not mean Beijing has stopped supporting the sector,' he said. BNP Paribas Peregrine analyst Marvin Lo cited the success of No 1 mobile operator China Mobile in obtaining a substantial bridge loan to part-finance a US$10.2 billion acquisition as an example of the firms' financing flexibility.