China CNR Said to Pick Banks for $1.5 Billion Hong Kong Offering

China CNR Corp., the nation’s second-biggest trainmaker, picked China International Capital Corp., Macquarie Group Ltd. and UBS AG to work on a first-time share sale in Hong Kong, said three people with knowledge of the matter.

Shanghai-listed China CNR plans to raise as much as $1.5 billion in the offering this year, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The company has yet to file an application to the Hong Kong stock exchange, they said.

China CNR is seeking funds as the government expands the world’s largest high-speed rail network. The Beijing-based company said Jan. 6 it signed contracts worth 28.2 billion yuan ($4.7 billion) to sell bullet trains to state-owned China Railway Corp.

Selling stock in Hong Kong allows China-listed companies to take advantage of valuations that can be higher than on the mainland. Larger competitor CSR Corp. trades in Hong Kong at 12.1 times estimated 2014 earnings, while its Shanghai shares carry a multiple of 11.8, data compiled by Bloomberg show. China CNR trades in Shanghai at 10.2 times projected 2014 earnings, the data show.

China’s state-owned asset regulator approved China CNR’s Hong Kong listing plan “in principle,” the trainmaker said in a statement on Jan. 2, without giving details. Calls to China CNR’s press office in Beijing went unanswered.

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