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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 May 2006, 06:49 GMT 07:49 UK
Bank of China sale raises $9.7bn
Investors examine the prospectus for the Bank of China share sale
Many investors see China as a fast-growth, but high-risk, opportunity
Bank of China, the country's second-biggest lender, has raised $9.7bn (5.2bn) from its share sale.

Demand was strong and the sale was oversubscribed as investors tried to tap into strong growth and an expected surge in demand for financial services.

The company priced its shares at 2.95 Hong Kong dollars ($0.38) each, 5 cents below the top of its pricing range.

Investors, undeterred by a tumble across global markets, said it boded well for other sales later this year.

Bank of China's shares will start trading in Hong Kong on 1 June.

"It's pretty much a no-brainer in that most institutions see it as a stock they have to own," said David Chin, a managing director of UBS.

"The brand name drives a lot of the non-institutional demand, like corporate, wealth management, and retail," he explained.

More to come

Investors placed orders worth $152bn for Bank of China shares, with the retail side at least 70 times over-subscribed, reports said.

Bank of China will now look to list its shares in mainland China later this year, the Reuters news agency quoted an unidentified source as saying.

Analysts said that despite the strong demand, Bank of China's shares were unlikely to surge when they start trading because of the pressure that world markets have been under.

"I don't expect the bank to post sharp gains in the near term unless the market rebounds sharply," said Kingston Lin of Prudential Bache Securities.

China's banking market is due to be opened up to greater competition from December and many of the state-owned banks are looking to foreign investors to help them prepare.

Last year, a consortium of international banks led by Royal Bank of Scotland spent $3bn on a 10% stake in Bank of China.

The country's largest lender, Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, is planning a $10bn share flotation for later this year.


SEE ALSO:
China's biggest bank sells stake
31 Aug 05 |  Business
RBS shares hit by China worries
04 Aug 05 |  Business
China launches currency shake-up
22 Jul 05 |  Business
China's economy keeps on motoring
20 Jul 05 |  Business
Bank of America invests in China
17 Jun 05 |  Business
Chinese bank to list in Hong Kong
13 Jun 05 |  Business


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