Business / Markets

Banks eye offering opportunities

By Xie Yu in Shanghai (China Daily) Updated: 2014-03-05 09:02

Banks eye offering opportunities 

Eight percent of the first 48 IPOs so far have been underwritten by foreign banks. UBS Securities Co still has nine lined up. Provided to CHINA DAILY 

The resumption of China's initial public offerings is opening opportunities for investment banks both within and outside the country after a depressing 2013.

China's onshore exchanges, based in Shanghai and Shenzhen, could see 300 public listings in 2014, with total fundraising reaching 250 billion yuan ($41 billion), a PricewaterhouseCoopers report said.

That means investment banks could share a slice of a big pie worth 17.5 billion yuan, if calculated using the usual commission fee of 7 percent of the total fundraising.

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After the first wave of 48 IPOs, more companies are waiting for approval in March.

"More than 700 companies are still lining up for the public listing signals. The authority will have to find a way to clear the accumulated applications, so the speed at which listings occur in the coming months will be fast," said Gao Jianbin, PwC central China private equity group leader.

The underwriting business of foreign banks' securities joint ventures have hit a five-year high, The Wall Street Journal reported. Eight percent of the first 48 IPOs so far have been underwritten by them.

UBS Securities Co, Citi Orient Securities Co, Deutsche Bank AG's joint venture Zhong De Securities Co and Daiwa SMBC-SSC Securities Co handled four IPOs. Forty-three of the approximately 700 companies waiting to list in China - about 6 percent - have foreign underwriters.

Of the foreign banks, UBS and Deutsche Bank have the most deals lined up at nine each. UBS has more big deals, including China National Nuclear Power Co's planned IPO, which bankers say could be one of the country's largest this year, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Under Chinese regulations, foreign investment banks must form joint ventures with local companies to operate in the country. Moreover, because Chinese brokerages have the right contacts and know the rules of the game in China better, they are handling more deals.

Guosen Securities Co Ltd, Minsheng Securities Co Ltd and GF Securities Co Ltd are handling most IPO applications, while China International Capital Corp, Bank of China International Holdings Ltd and Citic Securities Co Ltd shared underwriting the biggest IPO so far - Shaanxi Coal Industry Co Ltd - which raised 4 billion yuan when it listed in January.

The underwriting and sponsorship business brought in 17.7 billion yuan of income and contributed to 16 percent of the revenue of investment banks in the China market, according to data from the Securities Association of China. Underwriting and sponsorship revenue dropped by 28 percent to 12.9 billion yuan in 2013 because the securities watchdog halted IPO approvals to combat fraud and curb over-priced stocks.

However, more doubts are being raised regarding brokerages' integrity. Shanghai-based financial information provider Dazhihui said in 23 of the 48 IPOs so far this year, offline investors offered exactly the same prices when submitting subscription requests, suggesting certain information may have leaked.

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