* Unusual fixed-price sale made deal simpler, faster-source
* Sales comes after large IPOs pulled amid weak demand
* Company to use funds for port expansion for commodities (Adds source comments, details of IPO, underwriters)
By Elzio Barreto
HONG KONG, May 30 (Reuters) - A Chinese port services firm has completed a rare fixed-price initial public offering of shares in Hong Kong in an accelerated, pragmatic sale skirting the market jitters that derailed more ambitious regional listings in the last few weeks.
Qingdao Port International Co and its controlling shareholder raised a combined HK$2.92 billion ($377 million) in the sale, sources with direct knowledge of the deal said on Friday. Priced at HK$3.76 each, the share sale raises funds to expand facilities at Qingdao port in eastern China, the world’s seventh busiest by shipping volume.
The company and its bankers chose the fixed-price strategy as it “made it more efficient, simpler” and faster to execute, one of the sources said. The sources, who weren’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter, said they expect fixed-price deals to remain the exception as markets gradually stabilize.
Weak demand and unfavorable market conditions saw Chinese pork producer WH Group Ltd. pull a Hong Kong IPO late in April that once targeted up to $5.3 billion in proceeds, while Lotte Shopping Co Ltd postponed an up to $1 billion Singapore real estate investment trust listing three weeks ago.
“It’s still a tough market. The problem is, apart from anything else, investors haven’t made a lot of money in recent IPOs, so not a huge incentive for people to be too aggressive,” a separate source said. “You have to be very careful and very focused.”
The Qingdao deal closed after just three and a half days of bookbuilding, according to the sources, rather than the typical two weeks for most IPOs, when management and underwriters travel around the world to gauge demand at different price levels for the stock.
Qingdao Port International is the primary operator of the port of Qingdao. It handles about 76 percent of the port’s total cargo, according to the company’s IPO prospectus.
The company plans to use 90 percent of the proceeds to invest in new storage facilities for commodities such as oil and iron ore, as well as the construction of two crude oil berths, two general berths and two liquid chemical berths.
BOC International, Citic Securities International and UBS AG were joint sponsors of the IPO and will share the $6 million in sponsor fees.
CLSA and Deutsche Bank also acted as joint bookrunners with the sponsors, with the group of banks standing to earn a combined $6.5 million, equivalent to a 1.72 percent underwriting commission, according to the IPO prospectus.
$1 = 7.7532 Hong Kong Dollars Reporting by Elzio Barreto; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell