Times Property, a Guangdong-based developer, plans to raise up to HK$1.94 billion through an initial public offering that kicks off today. The developer will issue 431 million shares at a price ranging between HK$3.20 and HK$4.50 each, with trading due to start on Hong Kong's main board on December 11. The net proceeds of the offering, after the public offering's fees and expenses, are estimated at HK$1.55 billion if the shares are priced at HK$3.85. "About 33.3 per cent of the net proceeds will be used for settling part of the outstanding instalments under the restructuring deed," company vice-president Li Qiang said yesterday, while about 56.7 per cent would be used for financing new and existing projects and the remaining 10 per cent for working capital. The company's gearing ratio reached 163.6 per cent at the end of June and Li said he hoped the ratio would improve after the listing. The developer is focused on residential development in Guangdong province. "We have 28 projects under construction, with 27 located in Guangdong's key cities such as Guangzhou, Foshan, Zhuhai, Zhongshan and Qingyuan," said company chairman Shum Chiu-hung. "The other project is located in Changsha, Hunan." Li said the company would continue to expand in the Guangdong cities it was currently active in and Changsha in the next three years and "may expand into other cities in Guangdong province in future". Times, established in 1999, said it owned a land bank of 8.4 million square metres, sufficient for its development needs for the next five years. The company began marketing a Zhuhai development in Hong Kong in September. UBS and Haitong International are joint global co-ordinators and sponsors of the offering.