Interest in new offerings may have cooled in recent months, but fast-growing local broker Bright Smart Securities and Commodities Group is still pushing ahead with a share sale to raise up to HK$270 million. Formerly an online business, Bright Smart Securities started setting up bricks-and-mortar branches late last year. Its executive director, Francis Kwok Sze-chi, regularly appears on television to answer investors' questions. The broker has been opening new branches aggressively. Since opening its first branch in Tsuen Wan last December, Bright Smart now has nine new branches. It also plans to launch a 24-hour webcast, an online broadcasting channel with Kwok discussing trends in the financial markets. While Kwok's celebrity financial adviser status might help to raise the profile of the share sale, the broker has already secured Bank of Communications International, the investment banking arm of the Hong Kong-listed mainland bank, as a shareholder, according to a pre-listing document posted on the Hong Kong stock exchange website. Bocom International will hold about 7.5 per cent of the company's shares after the flotation, which is expected to be on August 25, according to a person familiar with the deal. Bright Smart Securities' earnings suffered in 2009 when operating profits dived compared with 2008. The broker recorded net profit of HK$60.3 million for the year to March 31 this year, up from 2009's HK$21.1 million, according to the pre-listing document. Apart from stockbroking, Bright Smart said it had managed to attract more clients to trade futures contracts on exchanges in the United States and Singapore, generating commission income of HK$4.5 million for the year ended March 31. In terms of comparable offerings, Guotai Junan International Holdings raised more than HK$1.7 billion in June. Guotai's Hong Kong-listed operation was valued at close to 30 times its estimated 2009 earnings, but an analyst who declined to be named said Bright Smart's valuation would fall short of Guotai's. One estimate has suggested that Bright Smart's offering would be priced closer to 15 to 18 times 2009 earnings. A person who is familiar with the deal said Bright Smart Securities, which has started its investor roadshow, would be selling shares at an indicative range of HK$1.35 to HK$1.62.