3 IN. DI LETTURA
* Guangzhou Automobile applies for backdoor listing in HK
* Shares of listing vehicle Denway surge 12 pct
* Move would raise company's international profile (Add details, analysts commen, share price)
HONG KONG, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Guangzhou Automobile Group, a Chinese partner of Honda (7267.T) and Toyota (7203.T), is planning a back-door listing in Hong Kong through its Denway Motors 0203.HK unit, becoming the latest China automaker seeking to raise its global profile.
Guangzhou Automobile, which directly and indirectly holds about 37.9 percent of Denway, would seek to list H-shares in Hong Kong by way of introduction, without offering shares for public subscription, Denway said in a statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Denway shares, worth about $4.5 billion since doubling last year, jumped 12 percent in early Friday trade in Hong Kong after the announcement.
The back-door listing would raise Guangzhou Auto's profile, giving it access to foreign investors and their investment dollars as Chinese automakers snap up distressed assets on the global stage.
The parent of Geely Automobile (0175.HK) is close to a deal to buy Ford's (F.N) money-losing Volvo unit, while Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery is working on a deal to buy GM's [GM.UL] Hummer brand. Last month, Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corp (BAIC) also purchased several older technology platforms from GM's Saab.
As part of the back-door listing, Denway would be privatised, with its shares exchanged for new shares of Guangzhou Automobile which may or may not be at a premium to Denway's current trading price, Denway said.
The ratio of H-shares exchanged for each Denway share will be determined after the Hong Kong bourse approves of the listing.
Analysts saw the move as part of a restructuring plan for the auto group with an aim to consolidate its assets. That would pave the way for future development in a bid to tap the growing auto market in the country.
"The privatisation move may be part of the parent's plan of group restructuring, and may not necessarily bring immediate benefit to Denway," said Patrick Yiu, a director at CASH Asset Management.
Analysts expect pent-up demand in smaller cities will keep the world's biggest car market growing by double digits this year despite Beijing tweaking its car purchase incentives by raising the sales tax rate on small cars to 7.5 percent. [ID:nTOE5B909L]
China surpassed the United States to become the world's largest auto market in 2009, with sales up 53 percent on strong government incentives designed to stimulate consumer demand during the global downturn. [ID:nTOE60A053] (Reporting by Donny Kwok; Editing by Doug Young and Lincoln Feast)