Coca-Cola eyes China listing: report

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 | Finance News

HONG KONG (AFP) – US soft-drinks giant Coca-Cola is considering listing on the Shanghai stock exchange as China's main bourse moves toward launching an international board, a report said Wednesday.

The Hong Kong Economic Journal quoted a company spokesman as saying it is "interested in exploring the opportunity of listing our stock on the Shanghai exchange."

"We continue to have positive discussions with Chinese government officials as we look at this opportunity," Geoff Walsh, Coca-Cola's public affairs and communications director for Asia-Pacific, told the paper.

Walsh could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday.

In October, the firm opened three bottling plants in China's Inner Mongolia region at a cost of about $246 million, part of its three-year, $2 billion expansion plan in the country, the report said.

Coca-Cola's stock currently trades on the New York stock exchange.

The larger of China's two bourses has been pushing forward with plans to see foreign firms list as part of a long-term strategy to turn Shanghai into an international financial hub.

Asia-focused banking giant HSBC, which is headquartered in London, said last year it was aiming to raise a "significant amount" from its bid to be the first international company to list in Shanghai.

Currently, no foreign companies can list in the domestic stock market.

Beijing, which has yet to unveil rules governing how foreign companies can sell shares in China, said previously that it would eventually allow qualified foreign firms to list in Shanghai. No timeline for the foreign board, which was announced in 2009, has been provided.

A listing in China is attractive because it would give foreign firms access to the nation's massive local currency deposits, and help companies with China operations boost awareness of their brands.

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