Melinda Peer, 05.21.08, 6:50 PM ET
Sino-Global America shares set sail Wednesday, billowing 80.4% in its trading debut on the Nasdaq Capital Market.
Investors see the Chinese shipping services company as a way to capitalize on the country’s voracious demand for iron ore. The stock added $6.23, closing at $13.98 a share.
Sino-Global America is China’s leading nonstate-owned shipping company and competes directly with the partially government-owned companies Penavico and Sinoagent. Combined, the two companies account for 85.0% of the market share for Chinese shipping agencies.
"These competitors have significantly greater financial and marketing resources and name recognition than we have," the company said, addressing possible risks to the company’s success.
According to Sino-Global’s registration filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, total sales for Chinese shipping agencies were $1.5 billion in 2006. In 2007, the company’s sales rose 13.1%, to $10.1 million, from $8.9 million in 2006.
Sino-Global expects to receive $9.5 million for maximum net proceeds of $8.2 million–the majority of which it intends to use to expand its business in 15 to 35 Chinese ports. The company filed an initial public offering of 1.2 million shares priced at $7.75 a share. Anderson & Strudwick acted as the lead placement agent for the offering.
Investors obviously see a lot of potential for the company, which has primary executive offices in Flushing, N.Y., and Beijing, since China is the world’s biggest importer of iron ore. According to Sino-Global’s filing, China imports about 43.0% of the world’s iron ore and relies on the three companies for 75.0% of its iron ore shipments.
"China is currently the world’s largest importer of iron ore, and global shipping capacity has been unable to keep pace with China’s demand for iron ore, resulting in the cost of iron ore to China of 9.5% in 2007," the company said, adding that iron shipments comprise the bulk of its cargo.
Sino-Global incorporated in New York in 2001 to better develop its North American client base. The company acts as a local agent for its customers with its range of services, which includes customs assistance and help with ground transportation.
Shipping rates are expected to surge even higher in the wake of Monday’s earthquake since China will become more reliant on imports–particularly for construction materials as the country begins the rebuilding process. (See: China’s Quake Boosts Dry Bulk Rates)
On Wednesday, China’s National Development and Reform Commission said stockpiles of imported iron ore at its ports totaled a record 79.2 million tons as of May 15. Steel mills have been hoarding iron ore at Chinese ports in anticipation of further domestic price hikes for the raw material, said Liu Baoyao, a steel analyst with Guangfa Securities. China warned that it would penalize mills that engage in hoarding.
China imports iron ore primarily from Australia, Brazil and India. (See: China Can’t Get A Break On Indian Iron Ore)
Thomson Financial contributed to this article.