Honghua Group, the world's second-largest maker of onshore oil and gas drilling rigs, raised HK$3.19 billion from its listing in Hong Kong after pricing its shares at the middle of the price range, sources said. The company, which set its offering price at HK$3.83 each from a range between HK$3.16 and HK$4.50, sold 833.36 million new shares after institutional and local investors ordered about 10 times and 29 times, respectively, the shares initially reserved for them, the sources said. Honghua is expected to start trading on March 7, making it the second new listing in Hong Kong this year, after New Media Group Holdings' HK$102 million share sale last month. Francis Lun Sheung-nim, a general manager of Fulbright Securities, said because of recent market volatility investors were shying away from new stocks unless they were convinced of decent returns on their investments. Honghua's 'leading position in the world market and solid fundamentals will find favour with local investors', Mr Lun said. Hong Kong is having its slowest start for initial public offerings since 1999 as a possible global economic slowdown has made investors more risk averse. Felix Man Kam-fai, a director of Hantec Futures, thought that taking a mid to long-term view Hong Kong was still 'worth a buy'. Mr Man said prospects were bright that Honghua would make strong profits and as global oil prices were hovering at record levels and oil companies were accelerating their exploration, the firm should be able to 'cash in on this trend'. Yiu Chin, a director of financial analysis at Altruist Financial Group, agreed, adding that China Railway Construction Corp's initial public offering might prove too hot and thus divert investors to buying a 'less ideal alternative'. Sichuan-based Honghua has forecast a net profit of 538.3 million yuan for last year, up 30.4 per cent from 2006. Its key clients include PetroChina and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley arranged Honghua's share sale.