Chinese Coal Port Said to Weigh Moving Shanghai IPO to Hong Kong

Qinhuangdao Port Co., China’s biggest coal port, is preparing an $800 million initial public offering in Hong Kong after waiting for more than a year to sell shares in Shanghai, said three people with knowledge of the matter.

The company, based in Hebei province, may cancel plans to sell shares in mainland China, where regulators have stopped allowing IPOs as they review listing rules, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Qinhuangdao Port may start marketing the offering in Hong Kong in the fourth quarter, one of the people said.

Chinese regulators will resume approving IPOs only after revising rules on underwriting and disclosure, Jiang Xiangyang, an official at the China Securities Regulatory Commission, said June 25 at a press conference in Shanghai. More than 700 companies are waiting for approval from the regulator, after filing applications for IPOs in Shanghai or Shenzhen.

Qinhuangdao Port, controlled by the Hebei provincial government, posted sales of 5.9 billion yuan ($962 million) in 2011, up 12 percent from 2010, according to a filing to the China Securities Regulatory Commission in September. Revenue reached 3.1 billion yuan in the first half of 2012, the filing shows without providing a year-earlier figure.

The company said it planned to sell as many as 1.4 billion shares in a Shanghai IPO, as it needed 4.8 billion yuan to fund projects, buy equipment and repay debt. Two calls yesterday to the company’s head office in Qinhuangdao city weren’t answered.