China’s AgBank poised to raise over £15bn in IPO

City A.M. Reporter
THE Agricultural Bank of China is seeking to raise over $23bn (£15.6bn) by listing in Hong Kong and Shanghai, in what would be the world’s biggest IPO.

The public share issue by AgBank, founded by Mao Zedong in the 1950s as the central bank’s rural arm, had previously been touted as high as $30bn, but has been scaled back as China’s stock market has dropped by more than a fifth this year and global markets have been spooked by a Eurozone debt crisis.

AgBank’s offering comes as around $3.8bn in public offerings have been shelved in Hong Kong in recent weeks. The bank, China’s third largest, began the pre-marketing for the IPO yesterday, involving research from underwriters that gave markets previously undisclosed financial information and forecasts.

The bank is run by Xiang Junbo, 53, a scriptwriter and war hero, who previously served in top posts in China’s central bank and National Audit Office.

Singapore’s state investment fund Temasek plans to invest up to $300m in the IPO, and other Middle East and Asian wealth funds are expected to step in as cornerstone investors.