HiSoft, NeoPhotonics Plan 2010 IPOs

BEIJING (Reuters) – A Chinese IT outsourcing company and an optical components maker are aiming to select investment banks in the next two weeks with the goal of making U.S. initial public offerings by as soon as the first half of 2010, one of their investors said on Monday.

HiSoft, an IT outsourcing company in the cities of Beijing and Dalian, and NeoPhotonics, an optical components maker in the city of Shenzhen, were both close to selecting investment banks, Nikunj Jinsi, chief investment officer of International Finance Corp, told Reuters.

“They’re a week away from selecting their bankers,” he said on the sidelines of a conference in Beijing. “They’re looking at a timeframe of the second or third quarter of next year.”

Both companies were looking at relatively modest fundraising plans, most likely in the $75-125 million range, he added.

A third IFC-invested company, China Digital Video (Beijing) Ltd, a maker of digital television technology known locally as Newauto, was also looking for investment banks for a U.S. public offering, Jinsi said, adding that it was not as far along in the process as the other two companies.

He did not specify where in the United States the companies intended to go public, but such smaller growth companies typically list on the Nasdaq.

They join a stream of about 10 Chinese companies that have gone to the Nasdaq this year to raise money since IPO activity has picked up with the ebbing of the global financial crisis. Two of those have been online game companies Changyou.com (CYOU.O) and Shanda Games (GAME.O).

Such companies have gone to the Nasdaq to take advantage of its strong liquidity and relatively high valuations.

They previously were also largely locked out of listing in the China market by stricter rules favouring large former state-owned companies. But that could change in coming years following China’s launch of a Nasdaq-style enterprise board, known as ChiNext, in October in the southern city of Shenzhen.

One Nasdaq-listed Chinese company, ChinaEdu (CEDU.O), was considering spinning off one of its units for a listing on the ChiNext board, Julia Huang, chief executive of the company specialising in online education services, told Reuters at the event.

But she added that plans were still at a very preliminary stage, and declined to give details.

“The first reason we’re considering this is that P/E ratios are relatively high,” she said. “The second is that most of our business is in China, so our reputation is much bigger here.” (Reporting by Doug Young; Editing by Chris Lewis)