Investors bank on China

Bank of China''s IPO is unexpectedly priced near the top of its indicative range after amassing a $19 billion order book of 450 institutions, 242 corporates, 80,000 Japanese retail investors and 385,000 of domestic retail.

A faultless marketing strategy and the loyalty of the bank's corporate and retail customer base has propelled Bank of China's $2.47 billion pre shoe flotation to the kind of successful completion that few envisaged at the outset. Its achievement has also been all the more remarkable given the extreme volatility of global equity markets, the precarious state of the Chinese banking sector and sluggish economic backdrop in Hong Kong, where banks have been engaged in a fierce price war.

Yet pricing Saturday saw a 2.298 billion share offering come towards the top end of its HK$6.93 to HK$9.50 indicative range. A placement tranche of 1.49 billion shares, accounting for 65% of the...

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