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China Construction Bank prices IPO
Updated: 2005-10-13 21:06

China Construction Bank said Thursday it has set a price range of 1.90 Hong Kong dollars to 2.40 Hong Kong dollars (24 cents to 31 cents) per share for its initial public offering in Hong Kong -- expected to be the world's biggest IPO this year.

The bank, the first of China's big state-owned banks to list shares overseas, plans to sell 26.48 billion shares to raise 50.3 billion Hong Kong dollars to 63.6 billion Hong Kong dollars ($6.5 billion to $8.2 billion).

The bank has also authorized its underwriters to sell an additional 3 billion shares, which when exercised will bring the total amount raised to 57.9 billion Hong Kong dollars to 73.1 billion Hong Kong dollars ($7.46 billion to $9.42 billion).

The public offer will open Friday Oct. 14 and close Oct. 19. Trading of the shares will begin Oct. 27.

The IPO is expected to be the largest-ever overseas listing by a Chinese company, surpassing the $5.7 billion China Unicom Ltd. IPO in 2000.

"I believe the listing is just a beginning. Internally there is still lots of work to be done regarding reforms of our business model," bank chairman Guo Shuqing told reporters.

"For us, the most important change will be the transition from a government structure to a completely commercialized operation ... the operating mechanism will become more transparent after the IPO. That will be beneficial to our clients," he said.

The bank, called CCB, has a network of more than 14,000 branches in China. As of June, the bank had 4,224.1 billion Chinese yuan ($522 billion) in total assets, 2,374.4 billion yuan ($293 billion) in total loans, and 3,781.3 billion yuan ($467 billion) in total deposits.

The bank has forecast a profit of 42 billion yuan ($5.2 billion) this year.

Foreign banks are vying for position in Chinese state-owned banks ahead of late 2006, when China fully opens its markets to overseas competition. CCB is in a strategic partnership with the Bank of America Corp., which has agreed to buy 9 percent of CCB's stakes for $2.5 billion.

The Bank of America will also spend an additional $500 million to purchase CCB's shares at the IPO price.

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