Harbin Bank Seeks $1.3 Billion in Hong Kong Initial Share Sale

Harbin Bank Co., a Chinese lender near the nation’s border with Russia, and its shareholders are seeking $1.3 billion from a Hong Kong initial public offering.

The bank is selling about 2.75 billion new shares at HK$2.89 to HK$3.33 each, according to a prospectus distributed at a press conference in Hong Kong yesterday. A total of 30 state-owned investors are offering about 275 million existing shares, the prospectus shows.

Harbin Bank plans to start trading on March 31, according to the prospectus. Cornerstone investors including Fubon Life Insurance Co. and Citic Capital HB Investment LP agreed to buy $512 million of stock in the offering, the prospectus shows. Fubon Life plans to buy $289 million of shares, while Citic Capital will invest $150 million, the document shows.

The share sale comes at a time when Chinese banks are being squeezed by slower economic growth and rising bad debts as policy makers open up the financial system to non-government competitors. The nation’s four biggest lenders sank to the lowest valuations on record in Hong Kong trading this week.