Poor debut for fridge maker as price sticks

REFRIGERATOR producer Shanghai Shangling Electric Appliances failed to show a gain on its issue price of 75 US cents on its first day of trade in Shanghai.

The poor performance contrasted with earlier B-share debuts in Shanghai which saw prices shoot up by between 50 and 80 per cent from the issue price.

Brokers attributed the cool response to the change of sentiment in the market and the relatively high price-earnings multiple of the newcomer.

Yesterday, the Credit Lyonnais Shanghai B index shed 41.82 points, 4.42 per cent, to close at 905.21.

Since the start of the year, the index has lost about 17 per cent as foreign investors have taken profits and retreated.

Shangling sold 70 million B shares at a fully diluted prospective PE for 1993 of 12.7, which some brokers said was ''a bit expensive''.

The counter opened at 78 US cents but closed at its issue price of 75 cents.

About 4.8 million Shangling shares were traded - about seven per cent of those offered.

The shares offered represented 25.6 per cent of the firm's enlarged share capital.

A broker with Shanghai Shenyin Securities said yesterday: ''Shangling's performance is reasonable [considering] the sluggish B-share market, where investor interest is apparently lacking.

''But another factor leading to the cool response is the relatively higher price of the stock,'' he said.

A Hong Kong analyst said that, as overseas funds had kept away from the market, mainland investors had begun to join the selling spree.

Mainlanders have been buying B shares for some time, although they are not officially allowed to do so.

The Hong Kong analyst said the counter's performance had been a hard blow to the lacklustre B-share market.

Shangling has forecast 1993 earnings of not less than 105 million yuan (about HK$92.9 million) and earnings of 51.6 fen per B share.

The company has bought Mitsubishi equipment for its main refrigerator production line since 1985.

In 1992, its sales of 363,000 fridges gave it a market share of 10.7 per cent in China, second to Rongsheng Refrigeration Factory - a township enterprise in Guangdong.