Sinochem Hong Kong Holdings, a property investment firm turned fertiliser producer, is placing 174 million shares after an investor raised its stake to 20 per cent in a move that pared the public float to below the minimum requirement. The company is selling the shares, which make up about 3 per cent of its total outstanding shares, at $1.73 to $1.83 per share. The indicative price range represents a discount of 5.18 to 10.36 per cent to its closing price of $1.93 yesterday. The placement, being handled by Deutsche Bank, will raise up to $318.4 million, at the $1.83 ceiling of the range. A source said yesterday the placement had been fully covered and that the offer price was 'near the top end'. According to a stock exchange announcement on January 27, investor Potash Corp exercised its option to buy 581.38 million more shares in Sinochem to boost its stake to 20 per cent. This in turn reduced Sinochem's public float to 23.03 per cent, which is below the 25 per cent minimum requirement. New York-listed Potash is one of the world's leading integrated fertiliser producers. The company received its original 9.99 per cent stake in Sinochem as well as the option through a placement in June last year. Sinochem was originally listed on the main board in 1996 as Wah Tak Fung Holdings before its parent, Sinochem Hong Kong (Group), became its controlling shareholder through a reverse takeover last year. With Potash's exercise of its option, Sinochem Group's stake has been reduced to 56.97 per cent.