China Unicom Shares Up in IPO

Wednesday, June 21st 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of China Unicom rose nearly 20 percent on Wednesday, the first day of U.S. trading after the China's second-largest telecommunications company raised $4.92 billion in an initial public offering of stock.

The IPO, one of the biggest in Asian history, was priced at about $20 per share late on Tuesday.

The stock, which doesn't begin trading in Hong Kong until Thursday, opened on Wednesday at $22 a share on the New York Stock Exchange, then rose as high as $24.63 before pulling back to $23.75 by early afternoon. Trading was heavy, with 39 million shares changing hands.

Unicom, a unit of state-run China United Telecommunications Ltd., made a profit of about $101 million last year. China United remains the majority shareholder in Unicom after the IPO, controlling a stake of slightly more than 75 percent.

The Chinese government created Unicom in 1993 in a bid to open the country's telecom industry, which was dominated by China Telecommunications Ltd.

That former monopoly was split into two parts, China Telecommunications Corp. and China Mobile Telecommunications Corp.

To help Unicom compete, Beijing gave it China Mobile's paging business and other assets. It also gave it special treatment, such as a right to offer discounts of up to 60 percent from government-set price levels.