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Hong Kong launches first yuan IPO.

Hong Kong: Billionaire Li Ka-shing s yuan-denominated property trust opened for sale in Hong Kong Monday, in a landmark deal analysts described as a milestone in moves to turn the yuan into a global currency.

Hui Xian, a real estate investment trust (REIT) and part of Li s flagship Cheung Kong Holdings, is planning to raise up to 11.2 billion yuan ($1.7 billion) from its Hong Kong listing, scheduled to take place on April 29.

The offer, set to be the world s first yuan-denominated initial public offering outside mainland China, will see the trust sell two billion units, or 40 percent of the company, at an indicative price of 5.24 to 5.58 yuan each.

The move comes amid rising demand for investment products in the Chinese currency, while Hong Kong -- a semi-autonomous Chinese territory -- has been acting as test bed for China s efforts to internationalise its currency.

"This is a major landmark deal," Dariusz Kowalczyk, senior economist and strategist at Credit Agricole CIB in Hong Kong, said.

"We think the response would be favourable because the market sentiment overall is good and investors generally respond well to issues by Li-controlled companies," he said.

Kowalczyk said a successful listing of Hui Xian would encourage other Chinese firms to launch similar products in Hong Kong.

Hui Xian controls the Oriental Plaza complex in Beijing, which comprises malls, eight office buildings, a five-star hotel and two high-end serviced apartments.

In a statement Sunday, Hui Xian said the offer allows investors to tap into China s rapid economic development and the "strong fundamentals" over the long term for its real estate market.

The offering opens its retail book on Monday for nine days, with more than 100 branches of six major banks in the city collecting applications.

China in 2009 approved using the yuan to settle cross-border trade with Hong Kong and Beijing has twice issued yuan-denominated bonds in the financial hub over the past year.

Yuan deposits in Hong Kong surged to 407.7 billion yuan at the end of February, up from 370.6 billion yuan in January, as investors bet on an appreciation in the Chinese currency.

Hui Xian s listing plan comes a month after Li, Asia s richest man, raised $5.5 bilion from a Singapore listing of Hutchison Port Holdings Trust, which controls deepwater ports in China and Hong Kong.

Muscat Press and Publishing House SAOC 2011

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Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Apr 11, 2011
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