Listing candidate Asia Zirconium has been forced to lower its share offer price amid weak market conditions and concerns over corporate governance among China's private firms. Chairman Yang Xinmin yesterday said the metal-making company had priced its share offer at 80 HK cents - the low end of an indicative target of 80 HK cents to 88 HK cents, and far below the original range of HK$1.26 to HK$1.40. 'We wanted to list at a price-to-earnings ratio of nine to 10 times, but later lowered it to just under 5.7 times. Amid the special market conditions, we want investors to have a good [after-market] return.' The company, which aims to raise HK$68 million net, has delayed its listing date to October 28. Mr Yang conceded that recent media reports of the poor standard of corporate governance of certain private mainland firms had affected the offering. 'But any company, whether in the United States, Hong Kong or the mainland, can be good, neutral or bad,' he said. He vowed to comply with listing rules and not misuse shareholder funds, adding that he had an interest in only one other manufacturing company which had no relationship with Asia Zirconium. Mr Yang said Asia Zirconium was operating at more than 90 per cent of its annual 27,600-tonne capacity.