RETAIL BANKING | Tony Chua, China

Agricultural Bank of China attracts big-time IPO investors

The bank takes the opportunity on China government's drive to boost growth in country's centre and Western regions.

Heavyweights such as Hong Kong's richest man Li Ka-shing, Qatar's sovereign investment fund and Britain's Standard Chartered Bank took up shares of China's Agricultural Bank in the Hong Kong portion of its mammoth US$22.1 billion initial public offering.

The Hong Kong price was set at 3.20 HK dollars ($ .41) a share and this applies to the whole of the global offering, the bank said. It has already raised $10 billion U.S. from the Shanghai portion of the offering. The shares start trading in Shanghai on 15 July and in Hong Kong on 16 July.

Japanese investors are also being offered some of the IPO. Nomura Securities is managing the operation in Tokyo and hopes to raise US$570 million from the share sales.

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