China National Pharm. eyes $750 mln HK IPO-report

HONG KONG Sun Aug 17, 2008 10:23pm EDT

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HONG KONG Aug 18 (Reuters) - China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) aims to spin off its medicine-making and distribution businesses, raising up to $750 million in an initial public offering of shares in Hong Kong as early as the fourth quarter, a Hong Kong newspaper reported on Monday.

The South China Morning Post cited market sources as saying Sinopharm planned to spin off the businesses held by subsidiary Sinopharm Medicine Holding, which owns controlling stakes in drug distributors China National Medicines (600511.SS) and Shenzhen Accord Pharmaceutical 000028.SZ.

UBS and China International Corp have been hired to arrange the sale, which is still awaiting the approval of the mainland securities watchdog China Securities Regulatory Commission, the paper added. It gave no further listing details.

Citic Pharmaceutical, which makes and distributes western and traditional Chinese medicines, is considering a share sale worth US$200 million in New York that could come next year, the paper said. It gave no further details.

Market observers see a drugmaker as having a better chance of success in a weak IPO market as it would be less sensitive to wider economic conditions, the paper added. (US$1=HK$7.8) (Reporting by Donny Kwok; editing by Jonathan Hopfner)

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