HONG KONG (AFP) – Qatar and Kuwait will buy up to 3.8 billion US dollars worth of Agricultural Bank of China in its upcoming share sale, in what could be the world’s largest initial public offering.
The Gulf States have emerged as the IPO’s biggest cornerstone investors with the Qatar Investment Authority signing on to buy 2.8 billion US dollars worth of shares, Dow Jones Newswires said, citing an unnamed source.
That investment would make Qatar the IPO’s single-biggest investor, Dow Jones said, with British Bank Standard Chartered expected to buy as much as 500 million US dollars worth of shares and a pair of Hong Kong tycoons snapping up about 128 million US dollars each.
The Kuwait Investment Authority will invest between 500 million US dollars and one billion US dollars in the share sale, Dow Jones said.
AgBank — the last of China’s big four lenders to list — plans to float its shares in Hong Kong and Shanghai next month.
Recent estimates on the size of the offering have ranged from about 19 billion US dollars to about 28 billion US dollars.
There has been speculation that the size of the bank’s share sale would be smaller than anticipated due to weak market sentiment and concerns over the profitability of its operations.
The bank was initially expected to raise about 30 billion dollars. The world’s biggest IPO so far is the 22-billion-dollar offering of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China in 2006.