UPS to buy stake in China Sinotrans



HONG KONG -(Dow Jones)- China National Foreign Trade Transportation (Group) Corp. will raise up to US$455 million through an H-share offer in Hong Kong priced between HK$1.67 and HK$2.29 a share, market sources said.

The price range represents a price/earnings ratio of 10 to 13.5 times, based on estimated 2003 earnings of the company, better known as Sinotrans.

The 1.55 billion share offer will carry an over-allotment option equivalent to 15% of the offer, sources added.

The sources said DHL Worldwide Express Inc. (X.DHL), which may buy up to US$65 million of shares in Sinotrans, is still in negotiations to take a stake.

The company has secured three strategic investors so far, who will take a total of US$46 million of shares in the company.

U.K.-based logistics company Exel PLC (U.EXE) has agreed to take a stake worth US$10 million, sources said.

New York-listed express delivery company United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) will pay US$35 million for a stake, and Japanese transport concern Nissin Corp. ( J.NCO) will pay US$1 million for a stake, sources said.

Sinotrans, a leading freight-forwarding and logistics company in China, started a roadshow Thursday in Singapore, with bookbuilding running until Feb. 7, and listing scheduled for Feb. 13.

The price range is lower than the 11 to 18 times P/E based on forecast 2003 earnings originally expected by the market.

Credit Suisse First Boston (Hong Kong) Ltd. and BOCI Asia Ltd. are joint bookrunners for the deal.