Powerlong Group, a commercial and residential developer, plans to submit a new listing application to the Hong Kong stock exchange within a month and hopes to raise as much as HK$1.8 billion by reviving a long-awaited initial public offering in the fourth quarter, sources said. The Fujian-based company is likely to become the first property listing candidate in Hong Kong in 11 months as it seeks to take advantage of the recent pick-up in property prices and transactions. Powerlong cancelled a share sale in July last year because of weak market sentiment and poor valuation. Sources said Goldman Sachs walked away from the deal and the company hired another bank as a replacement. Australian bank Macquarie was still part of the syndication group. 'The company has been aggressively paying down debt over the past 12 months and it now has a healthy balance sheet and is asking banks for more credit lines to strengthen its capital reserve,' a source said. Powerlong develops residential, commercial and hotel projects in Fujian and owns several investment properties in other provinces. Sources said other mainland property firms that shelved listing plans last year could come back again this year as the sector advanced because of the gradual market recovery. Hangzhou-based Zhong An Real Estate, a company about the same size as Powerlong, surged 40.18 per cent on Friday to HK$2.88. However, it would take mainland property firms about six months to prepare an application for a new listing as they have to draft new sets of financial data. Companies that have deferred their listing plans include developers such as Shenzhen-based Excellence Group and Guangzhou Fineland Real Estate. Lee Wee-liat, a senior property analyst at Nomura International (Hong Kong), saw a buying frenzy during the Labour Day holiday on May 1, with strong sales reported in cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Chengdu. As developers continue to record strong sales and clear inventories, Mr Lee said land acquisitions would be a key catalyst in lifting their net asset values and stock prices. 'This is particularly the case, given that land prices across major cities have fallen 30 to 50 per cent from their peaks in the second half of 2007. Any developer buying land bank this year should see margin protection moving into 2011 and beyond,' he said. Liao Qun, the chief economist of Citic Ka Wah Bank, said the fact that developers were digging deeper into their pockets to buy land indicated their optimism for the market. 'Last year, developers were happy not to buy land, but the situation is quite the opposite now,' he said.