Put option offered to backers of China fund

NEW World Development, which last week unveiled plans to list a US$200 million China investment holding company in Ireland, is offering would-be shareholders a put option on the Hong Kong-listed stock.

Shareholders of NW China Investment, the new Dublin-listed investment vehicle, will be granted an option to put their shares to New World Development in return for new shares of New World.

The new shares will rank equally with existing shares and will also be listed in the territory, subject to regulatory approval.

The shares that are put will be valued at a 20 per cent discount to the last reported net asset value or the average closing price over a 20-day period before the executive date - whichever is the lowest.

Any shares issued under the put option will be valued on the 20-day average.

There is a cap of 97.65 million on the number of new shares that can be issued.

At the end of last week, New World had 1.57 billion shares in issue and 102.18 million warrants to subscribe for shares.

The total number of shares that may have to be issued under both existing warrants and the put options is 199.84 million.

The company could be obliged to issue up to 97.65 million shares under the option.

The put option will lapse after five years or earlier.