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AgBank raises $19.23b in IPO

07-07-2010 10:16 BJT Special Report:

The Agricultural Bank of China's initial public offering has raised more than $19 billion in what could turn out to be the largest IPO ever.

The last of China's big four State-owned banks to go public, AgBank is selling 25.41 billion shares in Hong Kong and 22.24 billion shares in Shanghai. Based on Tuesday's pricing, the rural lender would raise about $19.23 billion, according to a person familiar with the deal.

The person requested anonymity because details of the IPO have not yet been released.

If underwriters buy up about $2.89 billion more shares to sell to investors, the dual-listing deal could raise $22.12 billion -- the most funds ever for an IPO. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China raised $21.9 billion in its October 2006 IPO.

Original forecasts had put AgBank's proceeds at a whopping $30 billion. But investors appeared unprepared to pay that much for shares in a bank whose profitability is viewed as weaker than its urban-focused competitors. China's A-share market has slumped in recent weeks on worries that the huge IPO may overwhelm demand, pulling prices lower. The global IPO market also has suffered this summer as stock markets tumbled around the world and uncertainty over the economic recovery increased.

In Hong Kong, shares priced for HK$3.20 each (41 cents), the midpoint of the expected range, the person said. In Shanghai, shares priced for 2.68 yuan (40 cents), the top of the expected range, the person added.

Proceeds would total HK$81.31 billion ($10.44 billion) in Hong Kong and 59.58 billion yuan ($8.79 billion) in Shanghai.

The bank said in its Hong Kong prospectus that major foreign investors in the Hong Kong offering include Qatar Investment Authority ($2.8 billion), Kuwait Investment Authority ($800 million), Britain's Standard Chartered Bank ($500 million), Dutch bank Radobank Nederland ($250 million), Australia's Seven Group Holdings Ltd ($250 million) and Singapore's Temasek Holdings ($200 million).

Editor:Xiong Qu |Source: China Daily

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