Listing candidate Embry Group, the Hong Kong-based maker of popular lingerie brand Embry Form and Elaine, plans to increase the number of retail outlets 30 per cent to about 1,400 in the mainland and Hong Kong next year, chief executive Liza Cheng Pik-ho said. The company, which is launching retail subscriptions for its up to HK$362 million initial public offering today, owns and operates most of its 1,100 outlets in the mainland. It plans to spend HK$75 million opening 300 outlets mainly in China but also in Hong Kong by the end of next year. 'Apart from setting up concessionary counters inside department stores, we plan to open four flagship outlets in China and one in Hong Kong to enhance our product image,' Ms Cheng said yesterday. Embry also plans to build a factory in Shandong, slated to come on line in mid-2008, to double its production capacity to 23.8 million product units a year and help it capture a greater chunk of China's growing undergarment demand. For its IPO, Embry is selling 100 million new shares at HK$2.86 to HK$3.62 each, translating to 14.88 to 18.8 times this year's earnings, according to its listing document. It can sell a further15 million new shares if demand warrants. Rival lingerie maker Top Form International trades at 14.95 times earnings this year but fund managers said Embry deserves a premium since in addition to manufacturing, it sells its own brands. Tai Fook Capital is the sponsor of the offer. 'We received an overwhelming response from professional investors,' Tai Fook managing director Derek C.O. Chan said. 'The international offering is already 16 times covered.' Retail investors can place orders until Friday and trading is set to begin on December 18. The firm, which has been operating in Hong Kong for more than 30 years, first moved into the mainland in the early 1990s. Along with its branded undergarments, it produces swimwear, aerobics wear, sleepwear, maternity clothes, nursing wear and accessories. Ms Cheng expects it will report a 73 per cent jump in earnings to HK$77 million this year, driven by increased sales and better margins.