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Bank of China files IPO application
Updated: 2006-03-01 19:20

Bank of China, the mainland's No. 2 lender, has filed an application this week with Hong Kong's stock exchange for its initial public stock offering, a person familiar with the deal said Wednesday.

Bank of China's spokesman in Beijing, Wang Zhaowen, said the bank is proceeding with preparations for its Hong Kong listing, scheduled for the first half of 2006. He declined to confirm whether the state-owned bank has filed an IPO application with Hong Kong's stock exchange.

But a person familiar with the offering who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the delicate nature of the information, said the bank has filed an application.

The stock exchange's spokesman, Scott Sapp, declined comment.

Bank of China plans to raise as much as US$6 billion (euro5.1 billion) in Hong Kong, Dow Jones Newswires said.

It will be the second of China's big four state-owned lenders to list shares overseas. China Construction Bank raised US$9.2 billion in its Hong Kong IPO in October.

Dow Jones also reported, quoting an unidentified source, that Beijing has asked the bank to consider listing both in Hong Kong and on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, which could delay the process.

China's largest lender, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, or ICBC, is also planning a Hong Kong listing by the year's end.

The IPOs come amid a restructuring of China's state-owned banks, as the country encourages foreign investment and allows the banks to sell shares.

Pressure to boost the banks' competitiveness is rising as the industry braces for the opening of the country's financial services sector to full foreign competition late this year.

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