Chinese biaxially oriented PET film extruder Fuwei Films (Holding) Co. Ltd. plans to raise $32 million in an initial public offering in the U.S. stock market, to fund a significant capacity expansion aimed at the liquid-crystal-display screen market.
Fuwei said it wants to add a third production line and focus on supplanting imports of so-called ``thick'' BOPET film in industrial applications and in China's growing LCD screen-making industry. The firm said it believes making the film domestically and taking advantage of the lower labor cost can allow it to undercut the price of the imports.
The $10.2 million, 53 million-pound-per-year production line, from a European supplier, would start in the first quarter of 2007, the company said in a Nov. 24 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Thick film is between 50 and 200 microns.
As well, company officials said they want to spend $4 million to add a small line for research and development, including for BOPET multilayer films. The rest of the money would go toward facility expansions, supporting the new production line, beefing up marketing and general corporate purposes.
For the first nine months of 2006, sales were 315.4 million yuan ($39.5 million) with profit of 45.1 million yuan ($5.6 million), compared with 234 million yuan ($29 million) and 39.9 million yuan ($4.9 million), respectively, in the same period in 2005, Fuwei said in SEC filings.
The company said it wants to boost exports - which have grown from less than 1 percent of sales in 2003 to 21 percent last year - to the United States, Japan and Southeast Asia. Fuwei is headquartered in the Cayman Islands but its production is in Weifang, China.
Fuwei currently has two production lines, a 6.3-meter Bruckner line and a 6.7-meter DMT line, with total annual capacity of about 64 million pounds.
The firm is basing its IPO estimates on selling 3.75 million shares, or about 30 percent of the company, at $8-$12 per share. It would raise $45 million at the high end of its range.
Fuwei said it currently has negative working capital because of bank loans coming due later this year and early next year, but anticipates reaching agreements with its lenders.
The company started in 2003, buying its production lines from another Chinese BOPET film producer, Shandong Neo-Luck, after that firm went bankrupt. According to the SEC filing, two of Fuwei's top executives were also senior executives in the bankrupt firm.