Li Peng's daughter steals the limelight at debut party

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 October, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 October, 2004, 12:00am

The charisma of Li Xiaolin, the daughter of former premier Li Peng, outshone that of billionaire Li Ka-shing yesterday as shares of their companies went in opposite directions on their debuts.

Ms Li's China Power International Development surged 16.6 per cent on its first day of trading, with the Shanghai-based power company opening at HK$2.875 and quickly rising to its intraday high of $3 before closing at $2.95.

Meanwhile, Mr Li's spin-off Hutchison Telecommunications International Ltd (HTIL) followed its lukewarm debut in New York on Thursday by opening low at HK$5.85 or 2.66 per cent below its issue price of $6.01.

The counter traded narrowly within a 15-cent range, swinging between an intraday high of $5.90 and a low of $5.75 before finishing at $5.85.

This was in line with its New York Stock Exchange closing of US$11.26 for American depositary shares (ADS), which works out at about HK$5.85, given that each ADS is equivalent to 15 ordinary Hong Kong shares.

HTIL's weak performance once again demonstrated that Mr Li's magic touch seems to be deserting him, with three of his most recent spin-offs - Tom Group, Tom Online and CK Life Sciences International (Holdings) - trading below their issue prices.

Although its HK$900 million dual-listing plan had drawn US$2.2 billion in orders from institutional investors, demand from retail investors filled only half of HTIL's Hong Kong order book. This contrasts to the 296 times demand from retail investors for China Power's HK$2.5 billion initial share offering.

Hutchison Whampoa managing director Canning Fok Kin-ning said the stock's first day performance was 'fairly good' considering the Dow Jones Industrial Average had slumped more than 100 points to less than 9,900 points and crude-oil prices were approaching US$55 per barrel.

He also pointed out that the conglomerate had booked a HK$4.1 billion gain from the spin-off of HTIL on Thursday.

HTIL chief executive Dennis Lui Pok-man said the money raised would be 'better off invested in high-growth potential emerging markets rather than distributed to shareholders as dividend'.

Meanwhile, China Power's vice-chairman and chief executive Ms Li said she was satisfied with the company's debut and was upbeat about its prospects.

'With the fast-growing China economy and domestic demand for electricity, we are confident in China Power's future development,' she said.

Shares in China Power were heavily traded, with 506.62 million shares changing hands, more than half of the shares that it had sold to public investors.

A broker noted that about 60 to 70 per cent of retail investors had disposed of their shares in China Power to take profit and believed the counter could rise further next week.