China to start examining potential IPOs - regulator

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's top securities regulator said it will start examining four companies hoping to list, the first time it will do so in an 18-month freeze on the auditing of initial public offerings.

The four companies including the Kuajishan Wine Company, will be audited on Wednesday, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) said on its website late on Friday.

China halted new listings for 14 months from late 2012, in a move some analysts said was aimed at shielding sluggish domestic equity markets from further downward pressure.

The lack of regulatory approval for new listings in the past eight weeks has caused some companies to abandon their listing plans.

Separately, 25 Chinese firms announced plans late on Friday to list on China's equity markets, according to the China Securities Times said, boosting the number of potential stock market debutants after a two-month lull in new listings.

Draft prospectuses for the IPOs were posted on the website of the CSRC, the newspaper said.

In total, 122 companies have announced IPO plans, according to the newspaper. Some investors fear a flood of new listings could pressure Chinese share prices by reducing funds for existing stocks.

(Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee and Kang Xize; Editing by Kim Coghill)