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Sinopec denies US$8.4b share sale plan
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China Petroleum and Chemical Corp. (Sinopec) has denied market talk that it plans to raise around 60 billion yuan (8.4 billion U.S. dollars) by selling an additional five billion shares.

"Sinopec has no such share sale plan for now, and I have no idea where the market talk has come from," Huang Wensheng, securities representative of China's largest oil refiner, was quoted by Friday's Beijing News as saying.

Huang said the company would not offer such a huge share sale so soon after it announced the issue of 30 billion yuan of convertible bonds.

Sinopec shares tumbled 4.43 percent to 17.90 yuan on Thursday in Shanghai, as jittery investors dumped its shares on the market talk. It fell more than 5 percent further at 11:00 a.m. on Friday.

Plans for a huge share issue sank share prices of Shanghai Pudong Development Bank and Ping An Insurance as investors worried the issues would dilute the earnings per share.

Shares in Shanghai Pudong Development Bank have plunged around 20 percent after market talk on Wednesday that it planned to raise as much as 40 billion yuan through a public offering.

The mid-sized bank confirmed on Thursday it planned to sell additional shares to boost core capital, but added details were yet to be decided.

Shares in Ping An Insurance, China's second largest life insurer, have plunged almost 29 percent since it announced on Jan. 21 the issue of 1.2 billion A shares and up to 41.2 billion yuan worth of convertible bonds.

The plans also dampened the investor sentiment and triggered sharp sell-off as investors worried they would add to liquidity pressures to the equity markets.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index fell around 2.5 percent at 11:00 a.m. on Friday after declining 2.09 percent on Wednesday and 0.87 percent on Thursday.

(Xinhua News Agency February 22, 2008)

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