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China's Largest Commercial Bank Launches IPO
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The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the country's largest commercial bank, announced yesterday it would launch its initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong and the mainland today.

The bank said it would issue H-shares in Hong Kong and A-shares on the Chinese mainland on the same day. This will be the first time that a mainland company is listing simultaneously in an overseas and mainland market.

The bank plans to issue 35.39 billion shares for its Hong Kong IPO, among which about 33.62 billion will be subscribed to by international institutions and 1.77 billion reserved for local investors. Trading is expected to start on October 27.

ICBC said that they have yet to decide on a price, but added that it should be between HK$2.56 and HK$3.07 per share for both markets. Based on projections, if the share price is set at HK$2.81, then total capital raised through the overseas IPO would be about HK$77.4 billion (US$9.94 billion).

Experts estimated the IPO will take centerstage in Hong Kong's already hot stock market, where the benchmark Hang Seng Index surged past 18,000 points on Friday, one of the highest in six years.

(Xinhua News Agency October 16, 2006)

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