Bid fever grips Hongkong China punters

HONGKONG China yesterday made a significant gain as investors speculated the company was close to being taken over, rising 5.15 per cent to close 25 cents higher at $5.10.

Parent company Lippo has said it was in preliminary discussions with an unspecified third party to sell its controlling stake in Honkong China.

Meanwhile, Hongkong China also got a boost in profits through the sale of its 50.1 per cent stake in Asia Securities to Dan Form.

The property counter was among the day's best performers with 13.5 million shares traded worth $67.77 million.

Trading volume remained heavy in Asia Securities following the completion of a sales agreement between Hongkong China and Dan Form. Dan Form is required to make a general offer for all Asia Securities shares at $2.90 each.

Asia Securities was among the heaviest traded stocks, finishing the day flat at $2.80 with 8.2 million shares changing hands.

Another property counter, Paliburg Development, was also one of the heaviest traded stocks, edging up 2.85 per cent to close at $1.08 with 8.24 million shares traded.

Newly listed telecom company Tricom dropped 17 cents on its first day of trading to close at $1.03.

Industrial stocks were among the day's big losers, with floppy disk maker Benelux International recording an 11.11 per cent drop, the second worst performer of the day.

The counter was down 10 cents to finish at 80 cents.

Analysts said the company's core business - making 3.5 inch floppy disks - was facing tough competition. And the market was also flooded with low quality and cheap floppy disks.

To secure steady earnings growth, the company is making a slight shift of focus to the plastic mould business.

Cassette mechanical drives and metal moulds maker Yanion International plunged 8.81 per cent or two cents to 20.7 cents.

Shell Electric Manufacturing, encountered the biggest loss yesterday, posting its low for the month.

The household electrical appliance maker fell 6.41 per cent, or 25 cents, to $3.65 on a turnover of $1.23 million.

From its month's high of $4.79, the counter has lost 23.8 per cent.

Like Benelux, Shell Electric also faces stiff competition in the United States.