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Bids for BoCom Shares Now Open
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Corporate-owned shares in Bank of Communications (BoCom) have opened for bids in anticipation of the bank going public on the domestic stock market.


Share bid pricing for the Hong Kong-listed lender was quoted at a minimum of 4.8 yuan in a transferral statement posted on the Changjiang Equity Exchange.


According to a statement on the exchange's website last week, Wuhu Construction Investment Co Ltd in East China's Anhui Province is seeking corporate bidders for its 17.306 million BoCom shares at a minimum price of 83 million yuan.


Bidding on the shares, authorized by State-owned asset management authorities in Wuhu, ends in mid-March and buyers need final approval from BoCom.


Analysts and investors are optimistic about China's banking sector, which is predicted to show 20 percent annual growth for the next five years.


Shares in domestic listed lenders have performed well on a stock market that has surged 130 percent since a rally began at the start of 2006.


"BoCom's A-share offering is almost sure and it is natural for its corporate shares to grow" in price, an analyst said. "4.8 yuan is extremely cheap compared with its performance on the H-share market."


The bank's H shares closed at HK$8.52 yesterday, a dip of 3.51 percent.


The bank, which is 19.9 percent owned by HSBC, was given the green light last month to float up to 4.5 billion A shares. It is expected to complete its listing on the Shanghai Stock Exchange within the year.


The money raised would add to BoCom's core capital and domestic listing would increase its influence in China, the bank's President Jiang Chaoliang said.


Currently there are eight banks listed on stock exchanges, with more to obtain a listing in 2007.


(China Daily February 14, 2007)


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