Dongfeng Motor's Hong Kong listing plan has been pushed back until the middle of the year amid soured investment sentiment towards the mainland's car sector and concerns that it lacks control in its foreign joint ventures. Dongfeng, originally planning to list by the end of last year, now aimed to launch the offer in May or June to beat rival Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp's June or July listing schedule, sources said. Hubei-based Dongfeng, one of the largest carmakers on the mainland, was answering Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing's queries on whether the company had control over the joint ventures to be listed, sources familiar with the situation said. They include three car-assembling ventures with Japan's Honda Motor and Nissan Motor, and France's Peugeot Citroen, as well as a car-parts venture and an engine venture with Honda. All are 50-50 joint ventures. As Dongfeng relies on its foreign partners to provide product design, technology and management expertise, questions were raised as to how much control Dongfeng has over its core assets. 'If Dongfeng is seen to lack control in all of them, then there are the issues of whether the exchange will allow it - effectively a holding company of assets it has no control over - to list and, if it is allowed to list, what sort of risk to investors that may entail,' a source said. 'If Dongfeng manages to persuade the exchange that it does have control, then there is the issue of whether Dongfeng needs to disclose the consolidated financial figures of each of its joint venture.' Another source said most companies would rather disclose 'as little as they can within the boundaries of regulations' and such disclosure would need the consent of the foreign partners. Analysts said red chip Denway Motors, whose principal asset is an effective 47.5 per cent stake in its car venture with Honda in Guangzhou, also faced extensive questioning from the exchange on control concerns when it listed in 1993. 'Things will become clearer regarding the structure of the listing vehicle and how we can proceed with the listing plan towards the Lunar New Year after we meet the exchange,' a source said. The delay means Dongfeng will have to provide updates on its audited financial statements. The listing lag came as the growth of the mainland car market slowed to 14 per cent in the first 11 months of last year from 60 to 70 per cent in 2002 and 2003 when the country was the world's fastest-growing car market. Dongfeng now seeks to raise US$500 million to US$600 million from the listing. This compared with a target of as much as US$1 billion when the carmaker appointed investment banks to arrange for its Hong Kong initial public offering last year. 'Dongfeng is still planning to sell about 30 per cent of its shares to the public, but the proceeds will be smaller because the valuation has changed,' a source said. 'We have to be realistic. The valuation of the mainland car industry has nearly halved compared to a year ago.'