Jiangsu Transportation Holdings, the parent of H-share company Jiangsu Expressway, will launch a 1.5 billion yuan (about HK$1.40 billion) bond issue to part-finance the 10.53 billion yuan construction of two highways in the eastern coastal province. The unlisted transport flagship of the province yesterday launched an online roadshow to market the issue, which will start today and end on Christmas Day. The proceeds will finance the provincial government's construction of the 136km Jiangsu Yanjiang expressway connecting Changzhou city in the province to Shanghai. The project will cost 5.97 billion yuan, with an internal rate of return of 10.7 per cent and a break-even period of 12.36 years. Construction started in 2000 and is scheduled to be completed in 2004. The bond issue will also finance the 4.56 billion yuan, 152.9km Jiangsu Ningjingyan expressway. Its internal rate of return is estimated to be 12.08 per cent, with a return period of 15.69 years. This highway is scheduled to be completed before the end of the year, about four years after construction began. Beijing has been encouraging state enterprises to tap the country's nascent bond market to reduce their reliance on the stock market and bank borrowings, which have been plagued by irregularities. Seventeen companies sold local-currency debt this year, compared with five last year, Bloomberg reported.