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Everbright seeks more buyers for its flotation

07-25-2011 09:33 BJT

By Fox Hu (China Daily)

Bank looking for institutional investors for Hong Kong IPO

HONG KONG - China Everbright Bank Co is seeking more institutional buyers for its Hong Kong share sale after getting commitments for about one third of the offering from key investors, two people with knowledge of the deal said.

China Everbright Bank Co's branch in Beijing's Financial Street. The lender
is seeking more institutional buyers for its Hong Kong share sale.
[Photo / China Daily]

Prudential PLC and United Overseas Bank Ltd are among 12 so-called cornerstone investors who have agreed to buy about 30 percent of the 10.5 billion shares on offer, said the people, who declined to be identified because the information is private. The sale may raise about $5.3 billion, based on the lender's closing price of 3.28 yuan (51 cents) in Shanghai on Thursday.

Everbright Bank's underwriters are seeking to sell at least 40 percent of the stock to cornerstone investors, said the people. Such buyers, typically funds, companies or wealthy individuals, are offered guaranteed shares in an offering in exchange for pledges not to sell the stock for a fixed period.

The Beijing-based bank delayed the sale in June as shares of Chinese lenders declined on concern that loans made to local governments may turn sour. China Guangfa Bank Co, part owned by Citigroup Inc, is among other financial companies planning to sell shares in Hong Kong, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Everbright Bank shares have lost 17 percent this year in Shanghai.

Officials at Everbright Bank, Prudential and United Overseas Bank were not immediately available to comment.

With demand for bank shares slackening, securing key investors may help ensure a deal gets done. Agricultural Bank of China Ltd sold about 52 percent of the Hong Kong portion of its initial public offering to cornerstone investors in July last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Hang Seng Finance Index has dropped 6.9 percent since Dec 31, the worst-performing industry group on Hong Kong's benchmark.

Everbright Bank may sell shares at as much as a 5 percent discount to the average trading price in Shanghai in the 10 days leading up to the offering, the people said. The top end of the price range would represent a 10 percent premium to the 10-day average, they said.

That range would value Everbright Bank at 1.25 to 1.39 times its estimated 2011 book value, based on the 10-day average through yesterday, according to the people. Some potential cornerstone investors are demanding a lower valuation, they said.

Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd trades at 1.77 times estimated 2011 book value, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Everbright Bank has yet to set a new timetable for the offering, the people said. The company may aim to list in Hong Kong on Aug 18, according to one person.

China Everbright Group Ltd, Everbright Bank's parent company, was founded on Aug 18, 1983, according to the group's website. Everbright Bank was born nine years later to the day and started trading in Shanghai on Aug 18, 2010. The stock jumped 18 percent on its debut.

China International Capital Corp, Morgan Stanley, UBS AG, BNP Paribas SA, BOC International Holdings Ltd, China Everbright Ltd, HSBC Holdings PLC, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Shenyin Wanguo HK Ltd and Daiwa Capital Markets HK Ltd are managing Everbright Bank's offering.

Editor:Wang Chuhan |Source: China Daily

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