China to restart mainland IPOs, with pharma ready to roll

Chinese officials said last week they will lift a ban on mainland initial public offerings (IPOs), clearing the way for 10 companies already approved to move ahead with their listings within two weeks and another 18 to list before the end of the year, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) did not disclose the names of the companies on the approved list, but drugmaker Jiangxi Fushine Pharmaceutical is thought to be among them, the WSJ reported.

The company announced in July it was seeking to sell as many as 18 million shares in an IPO on the Shenzhen exchange, according to a brief from Reuters.

The move to ban IPOs came as China's markets suffered dramatic losses in the past four months, and the lifting of the ban shows Chinese officials are now confident the markets have stabilized.

The market regulator didn't explain why Friday's announcement came when it did, but said it also plans to "restructure" the IPO system in the face of criticism that it wields too much authority, the WSJ reported.

Unlike other markets, the government in China decides who can list and when, which critics say is not good for faith in the market system.

Before the market meltdown in June, CSRC officials had already outlined plans to change the system where IPO sponsors--as in other markets--can simply register their IPOs, the WSJ reported.

- here's the WSJ story (sub. req.)
- and a Reuters brief