With the lifting of the World Health Organisation (WHO) travel advisory on Hong Kong two weeks ago, it was back to business for investment bankers as companies restarted stalled listing plans. At least eight companies are pushing initial public offering plans (IPOs), aiming to raise about HK$2.3 billion by selling shares in Hong Kong before the end of this month. Bankers said at least another six companies hoped to list on either Hong Kong's main board or the Growth Enterprise Market next month. According to Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing, there were 19 companies at the end of last month which had been given the green light to list their shares. 'It's not just IPOs, there is also a lot of mergers and acquisition activity,' said Joel Chang, a director at BNP Paribas Peregrine Capital. Mr Chang said that with Sars under control in Hong Kong and China, bankers had begun travelling again to the mainland to meet clients. 'A lot of my colleagues have travelled to China this week. After all, meeting face to face makes their work a lot easier,' he said. At the height of the Sars outbreak in late March and April, most investment banks banned their Hong Kong staff from travelling to areas such as Beijing and Guangdong, forcing bankers to hold tele-conferences with clients. An investment banker with an international firm said: 'We only started pushing the IPOs forward after WHO lifted its travel ban [on Hong Kong]. Before then, we couldn't organise any roadshows because overseas investors would not see our clients from Hong Kong or China. It was impossible to sell shares then.' Lianhua Supermarket and Beijing Capital Land, were the first companies to kick-start stalled IPOs. Both mainland-registered companies launched international roadshows last week. Other listing candidates in the queue included Vietnamese-incorporated monosodium glutamate maker Vedan International, Ocean Grand Chemicals, frozen food company Wah Yuen Holdings, Global Trend Intelligent Technologies and e-government solutions provider Chinasoft International. In the past two months, only two companies listed shares. The stock market rallies in Hong Kong and the United States also helped revive listing interest. Analysts said fund managers had regained their enthusiasm for good quality IPO stocks. However, the success of the IPOs would depend on the candidates' fundamentals. UOB Kay Hian Hong Kong sales director Steven Leung Wai-yuen said: 'Institutional fund managers have been very selective towards IPOs, and are likely to adopt a wait and see attitude to most of the new issues.'