SHANGHAI, Oct. 16 (AP) -- China's biggest lender, Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, began taking subscriptions for shares to be listed in Shanghai to institutional investors Monday, hoping to raise up to US$5.9 billion in a dual IPO with Hong Kong that is expected to be the world's biggest ever.
The share price for the Shanghai offering was set at 2.60 yuan to 3.12 yuan (US$0.33-US$0.39; €0.26-€0.31), on a par with the Hong Kong share price range of 2.56 Hong Kong dollars-HK$3.07 (US$0.33-US$0.39; €0.26-€0.31), the bank said in a statement on the Web site of the Shanghai Stock Exchange.
Based on the price range, the bank will raise between 33.8 billion yuan-40.6 billion yuan (US$4.3 billion-US$5.1 billion; €3.4 billion-€4.1 billion) in Shanghai.
If a greenshoe option is offered and the bank decides to increase its share offering, the bank could raise up to 46.6 billion (US$5.9 billion; €4.7 billion) from its offering of 13 billion new yuan denominated "A shares" in Shanghai.
If the Hong Kong offering is also priced at the top of its range, the dual IPO, China's first, is expected to raise more than US$21.9 billion, exceeding the 1998 IPO by Japanese mobile phone company NTT DoCoMo Inc., which raised US$18.4 billion, according to market data provider Dealogic.
The bank is offering subscriptions to institutional investors from Monday to Thursday, with retail subscriptions to begin Thursday. Retail subscriptions for the Hong Kong segment of the IPO began Monday.
Final pricing for the Shanghai IPO is scheduled to be announced Oct. 23, and the stock will begin trading simultaneously in Hong Kong and Shanghai on Friday, Oct. 27.
"Our listing will open an exciting new chapter in the history of China's financial markets," ICBC's chairman Jiang Jianqing said at a news conference Sunday in Hong Kong.
ICBC is the latest in a parade of massive Chinese banks launching IPOs in Hong Kong during the past year. Bank of China, the mainland's No. 2 lender, raised US$11.2 billion in May with an IPO that was the fourth-largest on record. China Construction Bank, the mainland's No. 3 bank, raised US$8 billion in October 2005.
Although the banks have been mired in bad loans, many investors see them as excellent ways to tap into China's sizzling economy.
Jiang said his bank is a good investment because it is China's largest commercial bank, with the most extensive distribution network.
"ICBC has further improved its corporate governance structure, risk management standard and product innovativeness," he added.