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Wah Kwong pulls back from IPO

Wah Kwong pulls back from IPO

Hong Kong: Dry and wet bulk owner Wah Kwong Maritime Transport Holdings has said it will not proceed with its initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong, citing 'recent instability in the international financial markets'.

The Chao family-controlled Wah Kwong was looking to raise between US$125m to $164m by selling 125m shares, or 25% of its enlarged share capital, at HK$7.78-HK$10.20 each. This was significantly less than the US$200k, figure being bandied around ahead of details of the IPO being published. Noble Group and U-Ming Marine Transport had said they would be cornerstone investors for the IPO.

The IPO would have marked Wah Kwong's return to the Hong Kong exchange. It originally listed (as Wak Kwong Shipping) in 1973 but de-listed and went private in 2000 at a time of share weakness.

Wah Kwong currently has a fleet of 11 dry-bulk ships and tankers, of which three are wholly-owned and six are held through 50-50 joint ventures (some with U-ming). The company also has another 11 dry-bulk vessels on order that will start to come on stream early next year and will increase its combined deadweight tonnage by 52% from the current 1.8 million dwt. [06/06/08]