Stock priced near top of the range to give investors some upside potential Lee Kee Holdings, the largest zinc alloy trader in Hong Kong and the mainland, raised HK$534 million in its initial public offering after pricing its shares close to the top end of the indicative range, a source close to the deal said. The locally based metal trader sold 200 million new shares at HK$2.67 apiece, almost at the top end of its price range of HK$1.94 to HK$2.70 per share, the source said. Lee Kee's management did not price the shares at the top end so it may give some upside potential to investors when the stock starts trading on October 4, the same day as Shui On Land's debut, the source said. 'Investors' demand for IPOs with a strong growth story has been strong,' the source said. The institutional tranche of Lee Kee's offering, which accounts for 90 per cent of the total offer shares, was more than 10 times covered with orders from many long-term funds, the source said. The retail public tranche was 266 times covered, the source said. Cazenove Asia is the sole sponsor for the deal. First-time share offerings are receiving strong demand as most recently listed stocks made considerable gains in first-day trading, including 22.22 per cent of Beijing Jingkelong, China's No2 supermarket operator, on Monday. China Merchants Bank, the mainland's sixth-biggest lender by assets, jumped 25 per cent on debut last Friday while oil equipment maker Jutal Offshore Oil Services surged 49 per cent in the previous day. Another listing candidate Computime Group, a maker of electronic controls and automation devices, also plans to price its initial public offering shares at top end of the indicative range after overwhelming demand, an informed source said. Computime saw the retail tranche of its HK$456 million offering 682 times covered while the institutional tranche was 13 times subscribed, the source said. The company is selling 200 million new shares at a range of HK$1.83 to HK$2.28 each in a deal sponsored by JP Morgan. Founded in 1947, Lee Kee had a 72.5 per cent market share in zinc alloy imported into Hong Kong and 77 per cent of the mainland market last year, according to its listing document. Last year's net profit jumped 79.1 per cent to HK$202.4 million, while its 2004 earnings surged 215.6 per cent to HK$113 million. Net profit in the first five months was HK$224.7 million, already more than its earnings for all of last year.