China Telecom eyes $10.8b Shanghai listing

SHANGHAI • China Telecom could raise more than US$8 billion (S$10.8 billion) in a Shanghai initial public offering (IPO) that would be the biggest this year, months after it was delisted in the United States amid Washington's stand-off with Beijing.

The firm said it had priced its offer at 4.53 yuan per share, which would be worth 47.1 billion yuan (S$9.8 billion), according to a filing with the Shanghai Stock Exchange last Friday.

However, if an over-allotment option was exercised, that would jump to 54 billion yuan, Bloomberg News said.

China Telecom was delisted by the New York Stock Exchange in January along with fellow state-owned telecoms firms China Mobile and China Unicom, following an executive order by former president Donald Trump.

The order banned investments by Americans into a range of companies deemed to be supplying or supporting China's military and security apparatus.

China Telecom is the country's largest fixed-line operator, and the share issue would be the biggest of the year, topping the US$5.4 billion raised in Hong Kong by TikTok rival Kuaishou Technology in February.

Many of China's biggest tech and telecom firms listed their shares on the more developed US stock markets in the 2000s as they sought access to funding, but the tide has been turning.

The authorities have been pushing in recent years to encourage instead such companies to list on its domestic exchanges in Shanghai and Shenzhen, as well as Hong Kong, a trend expected to be accelerated by an ongoing government campaign to strengthen control over its major tech giants.

China is in the midst of a digital transformation drive, and proceeds from the Shanghai listing will be used for 5G and cloud-network infrastructure, among other initiatives, according to the exchange filing.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2021, with the headline 'China Telecom eyes $10.8b Shanghai listing'. Subscribe