ARNHOLD Holdings had a spectacular debut on the stock exchange yesterday, with its shares closing the day up 72 per cent, 90 cents, from the issue price of $1.25. A distributor of building products and engineering equipment, Arnold's closed at $2.15. The substantial rise was not unexpected in view of the strong response to the company's public offering, which was 583 times oversubscribed. And it was a good day for its maiden performance as the Hang Seng Index soared 365 points after a sharp correction last week. Arnhold shares opened strongly at $2.175 and traded between $2 and $2.40 during the day. A total of 23 million shares worth $52.69 million changed hands, representing 46.5 per cent of the shares available for public subscription. Arnhold also announced that it had won $70 million worth of new business. Among it are contracts to supply air-conditioning units to China, insulated ducting to Hong Kong's new police headquarters and pipe coupling for the new airport-related North Lantau Expressway. Arnhold director Eric Leung said the company was fast achieving market acceptance for its multi-zone air-conditioning series as a flexible energy-saving alternative to traditional central air-conditioning systems. ''We are supplying the entire 23-storey Nanjing Dong Road commercial building in Shanghai with 70 Daikin outdoor units,'' he said. ''We have already helped Daikin to clinch over 95 per cent of both the Hong Kong and China markets for this pioneering air-conditioning system, and there is further scope for Daikin in both China and the region.'' Mr Leung said Arnhold was very confident of winning more work for the supply of products on airport-related projects. Recently, the group secured the largest contract ever awarded in Hong Kong for construction adhesives, which will be used on the 800,000 square metres of external walls of Cheung Kong's Kingswood Villas development in Tin Sui Wai. It has also clinched contracts worth some $45 million for the supply of marble, tiles and bathroom fixtures to homes developments by Sun Hung Kai Properties and Cheung Kong. Established in China in 1866, Arnhold is one of the largest trading companies in Hong Kong specialising in building and engineering. It is expected to report a profit of no less than $30 million for the year to December 31.