* Longfor Properties prices near top of IPO range - sources
* George Soros, CIC, GIC among investors - source
* Timetable set for Resourcehouse’s $3 bln HK IPO - source
* Minsheng’s retail portion opens tomorrow
* LVS press briefing on Sunday; Wilmar shelves HK IPO plan (Adds brokerage quotes and details of raisings)
By Michael Flaherty and Kennix Chim
HONG KONG, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Strong demand for a piece of a China property company and a brokerage show that selected IPOs are still being coveted despite investor fatigue with the surge of new listings.
Chinese property developer Longfor Properties Co raised $912 million on Thursday, pricing its Hong Kong initial public offering at the top end of an indicated range, according to two sources close to the deal.
Billionaire investor George Soros bought HK$200 million ($25.8 million) worth of shares, while the $293 billion sovereign fund China Investment Corp (CIC) also invested through the international tranche, another source said.
“Underwriters try to use tycoons or well-known cornerstone investors to appeal to the market and draw investors to the Chinese real estate offerings,” said Steven Leung, director of institutional sales at UOB-Kay Hian.
Hong Kong stocks .HSI rose to 15 months highs on Wednesday, which, Leung said, makes investors shift to IPOs as their valuations are lower than listed companies.
Asia has emerged as the world’s top spot for companies tapping markets for funds this year as the region’s economies inch out of recession, though the abundant supply is also keeping high price expectations in check. [ID:nSP284830]
Longfor sold 1 billion shares, or 20 percent of its enlarged share capital, at HK$7.07 each, compared with an indicative range of HK$6.06 to HK$7.10, according to the sources.
The pricing near the top end of the range indicates that there is still demand for Chinese property IPOs despite a glut of offerings in the last few months.
Separately, China Merchants Securities Co, which plans to raise up to 11.1 billion yuan through an initial public share offer in Shanghai, said on Thursday its IPO has been nearly 94 times subscribed.
The medium-sized brokerage said in an exchange filing it plans to sell 358.55 million shares at 31 yuan apiece, the top end of an indicated price range, in China’s third brokerage IPO.
For a FACTBOX on Asia’s top 10 IPOs, click [ID:nSP491372]
For a Graphic on IPOs click: here
Longfor’s offering price range represented a multiple of about 12 to 14 times forecast 2010 earnings. By comparison, peer R&F (2777.HK) trades at 11 times 2010 forecast earnings and Greentown China (3900.HK) trades at 9.9 times forecast 2010 earnings.
The deal has attracted about $10 billion worth of orders, or about 12 times the number of shares earmarked for institutional investors, in which more than half are long-term funds and hedge funds, another source close to the deal said.
The company also generated orders for 56 times the shares initially on offer for Hong Kong retail investors. It will trigger the clawback option to increase the retail portion of the global offering to 40 percent from an initial 10 percent.
Longfor has signed up five cornerstone investors, including Government of Singapore Investment Corp [GIC.UL], Temasek Holdings [TEM.UL], Hong Kong Land, China’s Ping An Insurance (2318.HK) and Bank of China Group Investment Ltd, for a combined $197.5 million worth of shares.
Longfor’s trading debut is scheduled for Nov. 19, under the symbol “960” (0960.HK).
Longfor is only one of several IPOs hitting the Hong Kong market in the next few weeks, as offerings ranging from $300 million to $3 billion queue up for debuts before the year end.
Another Chinese property developer Fantasia, which plans to raise up to $414 million from a Hong Kong IPO, saw its international portion five times oversubscribed, another source close to the deal said. Its Hong Kong retail offering portion was launched on Thursday.
Zeng Jie, the founder and executive director of Fantasia, is the niece of Zeng Qinghong, the former Vice President of China.
Resourcehouse, the commodity group run by Australian Clive Palmer, has set a timetable for its estimated $3 billion Hong Kong IPO, sources said on Thursday.
The company plans to start its trading on Dec. 11, sources said.
China Minsheng Banking Corp, which plans to raise as much as $4.07 billion in a Hong Kong IPO, will open up the offering to retail investors on Friday, sources say.
And Las Vegas Sands, the Las Vegas casino company spinning off its Macau business, will hold a press conference for the IPO on Sunday.
The company hopes to raise up to $3.35 billion through the Hong Kong listing, an offering that sources say is already fully covered by institutional investors.
Unlike other IPOs, Las Vegas Sands will not have any cornerstone investors taking a significant stake in the company before the listing, sources say.
But not everyone is joining the IPO bandwagon. Singapore’s Wilmar International (WLIL.SI), the world’s largest listed palm oil company, said on Thursday it will not go ahead with its plan to list its China operation in Hong Kong unless the market recovers.
Earlier this year Wilmar said it plans to list its China operation in an IPO in Hong Kong, which was expected to raise around $3.5 billion. ($1=HK$7.75) (Editing by Chris Lewis and Muralikumar Anantharaman)