CHINA'S second-largest refrigerator maker plans to place 70 million B shares worth between US$49 million and $56 million with international investors next week as it prepares to list on the Shanghai market. Shanghai Shangling Electric Appliances has tentatively priced the offer at between 70 and 80 US cents. The price will be finalised on Monday. The placement of the shares, underwritten by Shanghai International Securities and internationally co-ordinated by Merrill Lynch International, will begin on Monday. A four-day period has been allowed for the process. Henry Tsang, a director of Merrill Lynch, said the B shares, which account for 25.6 per cent of the company, were likely to be listed before Lunar New Year. Refrigerators accounted for 80 per cent of the company's net sales over the past two years. Air-conditioners and microwave ovens have been its other most important products. In 1992, its sales of 363,000 fridges gave it a market share of 10.7 per cent, second only to Guangdong's Rongsheng Refrigerator Factory. Vice-chairman Jiang Shilong said in Shenzhen yesterday that Shangling had higher profits than its competitors. The company says it made after-tax profits of 94.2 million yuan (about HK$83.37 million) for the first 10 months of last year. Based on the company's own issue price range and projected earnings, it is on a fully diluted 1994 price-earnings multiple of between 11.9 and 13.6. Shangling plans to increase productivity in its core operations and reduce its reliance on fringes. It plans to invest 272 million yuan in adding two fridge production lines to the existing two. Some 216 million yuan has been earmarked for microwave oven and oil heater projects. Shanghai International Securities deputy general manager Wang Peijun said Shangling had the advantage of being a household name. Technology imported from Japanese electrical goods giant Mitsubishi has helped the company's development. Shangling is one of a number of large industrial enterprises in China to use Japanese technology to cut production costs while improving profits. The company first bought Mitsubishi equipment for its main fridge production line in 1985. Chairman Gu Huilong said a new seven-year technology agreement was reached with Mitsubishi last March. Mr Jiang said the company had a good relationship with Hong Kong-listed Hualing, which owns Guangdong's China Refrigeration, as both were using Mitsubishi technology. Another mainland firm understood to be using Mitsubishi technology is Shanghai Refrigerator Compressor. Shangling claims now to be the larger of the two major refrigerator producers in China that make energy-saving, frost-free refrigerators with rotary compressors. Shangling says its frost-free refrigerators are roomier and more energy-efficient because rotary compressors occupy less space and consume less energy than reciprocating compressors.