J.P. Morgan Securities Inc., the investment banking unit of J.P. Morgan & Co., has led an initial public offering of 3.75 million American Depositary Shares for the Mexican pharmaceutical, health and food products corporation, Grupo Casa Autrey.

In a statement released Tuesday, Morgan said each share represents four ordinary shares in the Mexican group. The shares were priced at $17 each and began trading on the New York Stock Exchange Tuesday.

Of the 3.75 million new shares, 3 million are being offered in the United States and Canada. The remainder are being offered internationally.

Parallel Mexican Offering

The group has simultaneously offered 9 million ordinary shares on the Mexican stock exchange.

ADS are dollar-denominated shares issued in the United States on behalf of a foreign company. The shares' value is pegged to the value of ordinary shares trading on the home market and are subject to fluctuations in price as well as currency exchange rates.

Casa Autrey's share offering is among the first by a Mexican company in the United States since Congress ratified the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada Nov. 17.

Capital Spending Planned

The group plans to use funds raised from the offering to accelerate capital spending in Mexico, a Casa Autrey executive said. The ADS offering would bring in $63.75 million at face value.

The issue is one of several equity and bond issues Morgan has underwritten on behalf of Latin American corporations.

The Morgan unit, which has steadily built up its securities-related activities in Latin America, earlier brought to market equity issues for Cementos, Mexicanos, or Cemex, and Bancomer, Mexico's second-largest bank.

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