PSBC raises $10b in public offering

HONG KONG • State-owned Postal Savings Bank of China (PSBC) has raised US$7.4 billion (S$10 billion) in the world's biggest initial public offering in two years, but the deal priced at the lower end of expectations and was reliant on cornerstone investors.

Seeking to bolster its balance sheet and fund lending, the bank initially sought as much as US$8.1 billion in the Hong Kong listing, counting on its network of more than 40,000 branches and low level of non-performing loans to attract investors.

But it had to pare back the size of the offering as some investors baulked at paying valuations higher than domestic rivals.

PSBC priced 12.1 billion new shares at HK$4.76 each, after marketing the offering at between HK$4.68 and HK$5.18 per share, people with direct knowledge of the deal said yesterday.

They declined to be identified because details of the pricing have not been officially announced. PSBC declined to comment.

A group of six cornerstone investors agreed to purchase US$5.7 billion or 77 per cent of the shares on offer, offsetting tepid demand from global fund managers and local retail investors.

The cornerstone tranche came in slightly below the record set by China Development Bank Financial Leasing in its US$810 million listing in July.

Large investments by cornerstone investors hurt liquidity for IPOs once the shares start trading, as the stock is locked up for a minimum of six months. The cornerstone money can also pressure the stock as the expiration of the lock-up period nears.

In the world's biggest IPO since Alibaba Group Holding's US$25 billion listing in 2014, some 26 banks stand to jointly earn up to US$118.4 million in fees, according to PSBC's prospectus. That is equivalent to a 1.1 per cent underwriting commission and a 0.5 per cent incentive fee.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 22, 2016, with the headline 'PSBC raises $10b in public offering'. Print Edition | Subscribe