China's Wind Plans IPO

SHANGHAI, July 18 (Reuters) – China's Wind Information, a financial data and information provider, plans an initial public offering of shares to raise about 1 billion yuan ($147 million) to support its fast growth.

Lu Feng, chairman of Shanghai-based Wind Information Co Ltd, did not say when the initial public offer would take place, but said the company had hired underwriters for it.

“We believe the financial data and information market in China has great potential to develop in the next few years as our clients are growing very fast,” he said on Friday.

The company plans to list in Shanghai or Shenzhen, he told Reuters on the sidelines of a financial forum.

He also said the company planned to expand its staff to 5,000 over the next five years from 500 at present to support its rapid expansion in the world's fastest growing major economy.

Wind has about 1,200 institutional clients including major investment banks such as Merrill Lynch (MER.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Credit Suisse (CSGN.VX: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), as well as domestic lenders and regulators including China's central bank, Lu said.

He added that Wind's clients could access financial data and information about China's listed companies and capital markets via the Wind Terminal, a system similar to services offered by Thomson Reuters Corp (TRI.TO: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) (TRIL.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Bloomberg LP, the world's two biggest financial news and data providers.

More than 85 percent of Chinese securities houses and over 75 percent of Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors, mostly global investment banks operating in China, have subscribed to Wind Terminals, Lu said.

Wind does not provide its own news content but it is a content partner of News Corp's (NWSa.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) Dow Jones & Co, which owns real-time news service Dow Jones Newswires, according to the company's website (http://www.wind.com.cn).

Thomson Reuters competes with Bloomberg and Dow Jones.

Shanghai-based Sino-Century Assets Management Co Ltd, a venture capital specialist that gets funds from both mainland and Taiwan investors, bought a stake of less than 10 percent in Wind in 2007 for about 80 million yuan, a venture capital source with direct knowledge of the deal told Reuters on Friday.

The source declined to be identified as he was not authorised to speak to the media.

Lu confirmed Sino-Century's investment in his firm but declined to say how big a stake it now holds.

“Currently, we have no foreign investors in our company and we don't need to obtain any,” said Lu.

Wind is aiming for annual revenue of 3 billion yuan within five years and is trying to reach more individual clients, mostly financial professionals, after establishing its institutional client base, Lu said.

He added that China's fast economic growth would provide strong fundamental support to its business expansion. ($1 = 6.81 yuan)

By George Chen and David Lin
(Editing by Kim Coghill)