GUANGDONG TO SELL STOCK IN ROAD-BUILDING COMPANY

GUANGDONG TO SELL STOCK IN ROAD-BUILDING COMPANY

Guangdong province, the southern Chinese dynamo that claims a steady record of firsts, will also be the first in the country to float a highway-building company.

Guangdong Expressway Shareholding Co. has won approval for a listing on the Shenzhen stock exchange, one of two in China. Shenzhen is a booming special economic zone in southern Guangdong, adjacent to Hong Kong.A spokesman said the company plans to issue between 20 million and 50 million "A" shares for Chinese investors and 100 million "B" shares, which are restricted to foreign buyers. The aim is to raise 500 million yuan ($60 million).

The firm's parent, Guangdong Expressway Co., is the largest expressway- construction firm in Guangdong and comes under the Guangdong Communication Bureau.

Guangdong Expressway has completed almost 90 miles of expressways linking some of the province's fastest-growing commercial areas, including Guangzhou, the capital, and Yantian, a developing port.

The Guangzhou-Foshan highway, the province's first expressway, earns about 120 million yuan a year from tolls.

Huang Weizhong, director of the planning department of Bureau of Communications, said the province will inject 200 billion yuan to build 10 expressways with total length of nearly 700 miles over five years beginning in 1996.

As well as bank loans and overseas investment, "funds raised from the stock market will be an important channel to finance the projects," Mr. Huang said.

The province now has 185 miles of expressway, of which 157 miles were built in the last two years.

From 1980 to 1994, the number of motor vehicles in the province increased 11-fold to 980,000 from 89,000, while transport capacity expanded 6.7 times.

Guangdong received $200 million in loans from the World Bank in 1992 to aid highway construction. By the end of this year, a total of 320 miles of new highway are expected to open.