Taipei, May 18 (CNA) Grand Ocean Retail Group Ltd., a department store chain operator in China, plans to launch a primary listing on the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TWSE) in June, underwriter Yuanta Securities said Friday.
The underwriter said the retailer, which is registered in the Cayman Islands, plans to issue about 23 million shares for the listing and has set an issue price at NT$140 (US$4.73) tentatively to raise about NT$3.2 billion.
The underwriter added an exact listing timetable has not been finalized.
According to the prospectus filed with the TWSE, Grand Ocean says the proceeds from the fundraising activity will be used as working capital for future expansion.
The company said it will open a new outlet in Hefei of Anhui Province in the third quarter of this year and plans to add two to three new outlets every year, targeting rising consumption in the China market.
The retailer said since it set up its foothold in China in 2002, it has eyed fast-growing second- and third-tier Chinese cities as China continues to post strong economic growth.
Currently, Grand Ocean operates a total of 18 outlets in 13 Chinese cities -- Fuzhou, Suzhou, Nanjing, Quanzhou, Wuxi, Changzhou, Wuhan, Xiantan, Henyang, Yichang, Xian, Chongqing and Shijiazhuang.
The company said, in particular, it has concentrated its efforts in expanding its business in Jiangsu, Fujian and Hubei provinces.
So far, it added, the strategy to penetrate the retail markets in the second- and third-tier Chinese cities has paid off as the retail business in these cities has been growing faster than business in first-tier metropolises like Shanghai and Beijing.
In 2011, Grand Ocean posted NT$841.45 million in net profit or NT$5.14 in earnings per share (EPS), compared with NT$475.44 million in net profit or NT$2.26 in EPS recorded in 2010.
In the first quarter of this year, the retailer's EPS stood at NT$1.74, up 22.7 percent from a year earlier.
First Steamship Co. Ltd., a Taiwan-based shipping company, currently holds a 52 percent stake in Grand Ocean.
(By Maranda Hsu and Frances Huang)