China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) on Tuesday approved the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China's (ICBC) proposed initial public offering (IPO) of its A shares.
The ICBC is expected to issue a maximum of 13 billion shares, the largest issue by a Chinese company already listed in the renminbi-denominated A-share market.
The IPO in A shares is to coincide with the ICBC's IPO in H shares in Hong Kong, with 1.8 billion shares for Hong Kong investors and 33.6 billion for international buyers, making the bank's IPO the world's largest-ever.
China's mainland also has a smaller B-share market for trading in foreign currency shares.
Analysts said the new share offering would help further boost the ICBC's capital base and improve the management of the China's biggest lender.
China is overhauling its state-owned, debt-laden banking sector prior to opening the financial market fully to foreign banks by the end of this year under a WTO commitment.
The government has moved to write off the major banks' bad debts, reshuffle them into share-holding companies, invite strategic foreign investors and let them go public.
(Xinhua News Agency September 27, 2006)