Food packager Spread Prospects Holdings made a disastrous debut on the Hong Kong stock exchange yesterday. Its share price dived 34.95 per cent after a forced delay to the listing undermined investor confidence in the stock. The listing was delayed from June 19 after the stock exchange asked Spread Prospects to clarify information in its prospectus. The company's shares closed at 80 cents, down 43 cents from its issue price of $1.23 with 55.4 million shares changing hands. 'The fact they had to delay the listing makes the market worry that there may be something they do not know about this company,' Celestial Asia Securities research head Herbert Lau Chung-kwan said. Mr Lau said investors had become anxious at having had their money 'locked up' for two weeks, making them eager to cash out on the first day of trading. The company completed its $122 million share sale on June 12. Phillip Securities research director Louis Wong Wai-kit said allegations made about the company to the listing authorities led the exchange to seek clarification. He said investors were already 'jittery about [mainland] private enterprises on the possibility that they may massage the books'. Spread Prospects' dismal debut follows weak openings by a number of initial public offerings in the past week. Construction firm Baoye Group, which began trading on Monday, saw its share price slump 5.51 per cent yesterday to close at $1.37. Ocean Grand Chemicals, which also listed on Monday, closed at 89 cents, just one cent higher than its issue price. Mr Wong said the three companies' openings were indicative of a directionless market. 'Investors would rather take profit than face such an uncertain outlook,' he said.