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United States : Himart Aims At 2011 IPO.

South Korean electronics retail chain Himart Co. said Wednesday it aims to go public on the Korea Exchange sometime in the first half of 2011 in an initial public offering that its lead manager expects could help the company raise more than 600 billion Korean won ($508 million).

The deal may be the latest sign of a thawing market for IPOs in South Korea, which has already seen a substantial pickup in offering so far this year as markets recover from the global financial crisis.

The Financial Supervisory Service, the country's financial watchdog, has said companies raised a total of 2.7 trillion won through IPOs in the first six months of the year compared with 551.9 billion won in the first half of 2009.

A Himart official, who declined to be named, said no details for the offering have been finalized and the exact timing depends on market conditions.

Daewoo Securities Co. is the lead manager for the deal, while Citigroup, NH Investment & Securities Co., Shinhan Investment Corp. and Woori Investment & Securities Co. will be the joint managers, the official said.

A Daewoo Securities official, who asked not to be identified, said the IPO is expected to raise more than 600 billion won, but the final amount could change as the deal progresses.

Eugene Corp., a unit of South Korean conglomerate Eugene Group, acquired Himart in 2007 as a part of a consortium for 1.95 trillion won. It controlled 44.4% of Himart at the end of the first quarter of 2010, according to a filing.

It's not yet clear how much in Himart will be offered and in what manner, but the Himart official said a combination of existing shares and new shares will likely be offered.

The South Korean stock market has picked up pace this year, absorbing two of its largest offerings ever during the first half of 2010. Samsung Life Insurance Co. and Korea Life Insurance Co. debuted on the Korea Exchange in what were respectively the country's largest and third-largest public offerings ever, worth a combined 6.67 trillion won.

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Date:Jul 28, 2010
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