Tai-I International, which aims to raise US$30 million through an initial public offering, is poised to be the first Hong Kong IPO next year and will test whether recent strong investor demand for fresh listings survives into the new year. The Guangzhou unit of Taiwan-listed Tai-I Electric Wire and Cable will start its management roadshow today and take orders from Hong Kong investors between December 28 and January 3. Trading was scheduled to begin on the main board on January 11, people close to the deal said. China's No4 bare copper wiremaker was offering 150 million new shares, or 25 per cent of its enlarged share capital, at HK$1.38 to HK$1.66 each, representing 10.5 to 12.7 times this year's forecast earnings, sources said. Polaris Capital and Daiwa Securities SMBC are the joint bookrunners. Following Tai-I, Regal Reit, a spin-off from Regal Hotels International, biochemical products producer Shandong Fufeng Fermentation and mainland property developer Honglong Property were expected to launch their IPOs next month, market sources said. Tai-I International, which has an annual capacity of 150,000 tonnes of bare copper wire and 50,000 tonnes of magnet wire at its Guangzhou production base, might expand into other markets with its customers, director Jack Lin Chi-ta said yesterday. 'Some of our customers have expanded their production base into eastern, central and southern China and we do not rule out any possibilities of making forays into these areas by setting up new plants or through merger and acquisitions,' Mr Lin said. Tai-I International reported a 10.8 per cent dip in net profit to 35.7 million yuan last year when turnover rose 44 per cent to 3.98 billion yuan as investment to expand capacity eroded profitability. The increased expansion helped net profit in the first six months this year to surpass last year's full-year earnings, climbing to 38.9 million yuan on 3.05 billion yuan turnover, Mr Lin said. Tai-I International was expected to earn 78.8 million yuan this year, sources said. The company brought in strategic investors in August. AIF Capital owns 22.66 per cent while Citigroup has 11.24 per cent. Tai-I Electric Wire owns 51.1 per cent through a joint venture with Sumitomo of Japan. The rest is in the hands of Green Island.