THE issue by Maanshan Iron & Steel (Magang), the fifth of nine Chinese state-owned companies to list on the Hong Kong stock exchange, is likely to be 30 to 40 times oversubscribed. The subscription offer for the company's shares closed yesterday, and full details are expected to be available tomorrow. Last week, Magang offered 438 million shares at $2.27 each, making it the largest offer of the five Chinese companies to list in the territory. Peter So Kwok-kin, assistant director of Schroder Securities, said the market had earlier expected the oversubscription rate of Magang to be between 20 and 30 times. This would be lower than for smaller stock offerings such as those by Tsingtao Brewery and Beiren Printing, but higher than for Shanghai Petrochemical, which is also a large stock. Shanghai Petrochemical, China's largest petrochemical producer, met a lukewarm reception when its initial public share offer was oversubscribed only 1.77 times, while Tsingtao Brewery was oversubscribed 110 times. But brokers have said the issue's oversubscription will prove to be less important than its first day of trading. Mr So believed the price of Magang would shoot up to $2.80 or more when trading began on the exchange on November 3. ''Maanshan is likely to be a blockbuster,'' said Clive Weedon, head of research at Nomura.''We are expecting it to open at $3. This is one of the good ones.'' Nial Gooding, associate director at Barclays de Zoete Wedd, said: ''This is a whopper of an issue, so we shouldn't expect fireworks in terms of oversubscriptions. Just remember Shanghai Petrochemical. It was barely oversubscribed but it exploded later.'' Brokers said Magang shares were trading at $2.90 on the ''grey market''. This market is where shares are unofficially and informally traded before they are issued. It gives an indication of where the shares will go when they start official trading.