Guangzhou Rural Bank Seeks Approval for $1 Billion IPO

Guangzhou Rural Commercial Bank Co. plans to seek approval from the Hong Kong stock exchange this week for an initial public offering, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The share sale could raise about $1 billion, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. An IPO of that size would be the largest from a lender in Hong Kong since Postal Savings Bank of China Co.’s $7.6 billion offering in September, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The lender is among Chinese regional banks, including Bank of Jiujiang Co., that are seeking Hong Kong listings as a way to boost their profile and raise capital for expansion. The Asia hub has hosted $20.8 billion of first-time share sales from the finance sector since the beginning of last year, the data show.

The sector, which includes banks and brokerages, accounts for about 70 percent of the fundraising from the city’s new listings over the period, according to the data. A representative for Guangzhou Rural Commercial Bank declined to comment.

The lender had 592.5 billion yuan ($85.9 billion) of assets at the end of September, 56 percent more than at the end of 2013, according to a preliminary prospectus filed to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

China International Capital Corp., China Merchants Securities Co., CCB International Holdings Ltd. and ABC International Holdings Ltd. are joint sponsors for the offering, the prospectus shows.

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