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Dollar funds for Gansu infra show foreign investors upbeat on China

By ZHONG NAN and REN XIAOJIN | China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-11 08:11

Gansu Provincial Highway Aviation Tourism Investment Group Co, the largest State-owned enterprise of Northwest China's Gansu province by asset volume, will issue the second round of US dollar-denominated bonds in European markets in the second half of this year.

The company plans to sell the bonds to investors in major European economies including the United Kingdom, Germany and France between June and December.

It had issued $500 million bonds in the global market in November 2016. The company's bond issue is part of a major move by Gansu to participate in and strengthen the Belt and Road Initiative.

The overseas bond issue is a first for an SOE in Gansu. It also meant that the inland province has taken proactive action to participate in the global development game.

The deal was coordinated and completed by both Bank of China and the London-headquartered Barclays Bank.

Shi Peirong, chairman of GHATG, the seller of such bonds, said the company has been planning for it for a long time. The proceeds will be used to build highways, airports and other infrastructural facilities in the province.

"Even though the pace of economic growth in the United States, Japan and Europe slowed for several years, the company's bonds were favored by international investors including Blackrock Inc and HSBC Global Asset Management.

"The final orders we received were four times what we had expected, while 94 percent of our investors were from Asia, and the rest from Europe, the Middle East and Africa," he said.

The bond's 3 percent interest rate was lower than that on the average bond issued in the domestic market. It not only raised the standing of Gansu in the global capital market but set an example in using overseas bonds for big-ticket infrastructure projects in the home market.

Tang Renjian, governor of Gansu province, said the successful issue of the first tranche has shown the confidence of foreign investors in the Chinese economy. The stability and the potential of the Belt and Road Initiative are widely acknowledged by the global investors, he said.

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