China Everbright Bank set a lower than expected price range for its $3 billion IPO, even after key investors pledged to buy the bulk of the shares, highlighting lingering caution over the country's stock market.
State-controlled Everbright Bank said on Sunday the range for its Shanghai initial public offering backed up its commitment to offering value and would give the shares more upside on the secondary market.
The price range was set at 2.85-3.10 yuan (42 cents - 46 cents) per share.
China's 11th largest bank by assets said that range valued its shares at 1.47-1.57 times forecast 2010 book value, a steep discount to some peers on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.
Everbright Bank, controlled by Central Huijin, a unit of China's $300 billion sovereign wealth fund, plans to sell 6.1 billion A shares, and could expand its IPO by 15 percent to 7 billion shares through an overallotment.
The IPO could be China's second-biggest this year after Agricultural Bank of China's more than $20 billion offering last month.
A strong debut by Everbright would bode well for other fundraisings in the pipeline, particularly for banks suffering a serious capital squeeze after a 2009 lending binge to support the government's massive economic stimulus.
Everbright Bank aims to complete its listing by August 18. It will announce the final pricing by August 11.
China's stock markets rallied last month on hopes Beijing would ease tightening measures on signs of an economic slowdown.
But the market turned jittery again last week after China's banking regulator ordered lenders to conduct a stress test on their businesses assuming a fall in housing prices of up to 60 percent, just as measures to cool the sizzling market start to bite.
The Everbright Bank IPO has received a strong response from investors, with the portion for institutional investors about 17-times oversubscribed in premarketing, the bank said on Saturday. Some 30 key investors include major State-owned firms such as China State Shipbuilding Corp, China Minmetals Corp and China Datang Corp.