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Thu, Jul 20, 2006 - Page 10 News List

China's regulators approve ICBC's IPO


China's biggest state-owned commercial bank has received approval for an initial public offering (IPO), the government said yesterday, following reports the deal could raise up to US$14 billion.

Industrial & Commercial Bank of China's (ICBC, 中國工商銀行) IPO "has been officially approved," said Liu Mingkang (劉明康), chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), in comments on the agency Web site.

It didn't say when or where the IPO would take place or how much it would raise.

Earlier reports said ICBC wants to raise as much as US$14 billion with a simultaneous offering on stock exchanges in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Chinese newspapers, citing unidentified sources, said plans call for shares to start trading in Hong Kong on Oct. 27.

Employees who answered the phone at ICBC's Beijing headquarters and the CBRC press office confirmed that the IPO had been approved but said they could give no additional details.

With a successful listing, ICBC would join other Chinese state-owned banks that have raised billions of dollars from global investors in a massive industry overhaul as Beijing prepares to open the banking market to foreign competitors under WTO commitments.

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