AgriBank shares close slightly higher on Shanghai debut

Shares of the Agricultural Bank of China (ABC) closed at 2.7 yuan (about 0.4 U.S.dollars) on its first day of trading on the Shanghai bourse Thursday, up 0.75 percent, or 0.02 yuan from its initial public offering price.

The bank started trading at 2.74 yuan per share on the Shanghai Stock Exchange this morning, 2.24 percent higher than its IPO price.

The Beijing-based bank will list in both Shanghai and Hong Kong, planning to raise up to 10.12 billion U.S. dollars via the Shanghai portion of the IPO and at least 81.32 billion HK dollars (10.44 billion U.S. dollars) via the Hong Kong portion.

The bank's H-share IPO price was set at 3.2 HK dollars per share, and trading on the Hong Kong bourse is set to start Friday.

The ABC was the last of China's "big four" state-owned banks to float its shares. The other three state-owned banks -- the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank and Bank of China, are listed on both Shanghai and Hong Kong bourses.

The successful debut marked a new era for China's fourth largest bank, said Xiang Junbo, chairman of the bank at a ceremony at the Shanghai Stock Exchange Thursday.

The bank's IPO prospectus showed that ABC's assets stood at 8.89 trillion yuan by the end of 2009, accounting for 11.3 percent of the total assets of China's banking industry. The bank also reported a net profit of 65 billion yuan last year, up 26.3 percent from the 2008 level.

The Chinese A-shares market closed lower on Thursday, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index down 1.87 percent to end at 2,424.30 points.

[Source: Xinhua, Beijing, 15Jul10]

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