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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 December, 2004, 17:51 GMT
Shares in Air China jump on debut
Air China hostess
The carrier is the third major Chinese airline to float
Shares in China's biggest airline, Air China, have closed 8% higher after making their debut on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

Trading is also taking place on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

The LSE has been working hard to woo Chinese companies to choose London rather than New York for listings.

The dual listing, part of a strategy to modernise state-owned carriers faced with soaring demand for air travel, raised $1.07bn (558m) for the airline.

In London, Air China shares were trading at 3.28 Hong Kong dollars, up from their Far East closing price of 3.22 Hong Kong dollars.

Milestone

"This listing on the London Stock Exchange is a great milestone for Air China," said chairman Li Jiaxiang.

The flotation, which accounts for 31% of the company, sees Air China become one of six Chinese companies to have a dual listing on the LSE and Hong Kong.

Tracey Pierce, head of company services at the LSE, said the listing had given Air China "a certain standard of credibility" with international investors who may have been wary of buying Chinese stocks.

"If Chinese companies list in London, they have to comply with high standards of regulation and corporate governance which gives institutional investors and retail investors more confidence," she added.

The company, which has a fleet of 136 planes, said it intends to use the proceeds of the flotation to buy 10 Airbus and four Boeing aircraft and repay debts.

Air China has a 35% market share of China's 20 busiest domestic routes and 51.4% of international traffic.

The company is the last of China's three large airline groups to list.

Shares in China Southern and China Eastern are traded in Hong Kong.




SEE ALSO:
Air China raises $1.07bn in IPO
09 Dec 04 |  Business
Air China in $1bn London listing
06 Dec 04 |  Business
Airbus wins $1.2bn China order
12 Apr 04 |  Business
China hopes for private airlines
06 Feb 04 |  Business


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