While any concrete timeframe will hinge on whether the HKEx gives the application its stamp of approval, bankers did reveal that Harbin Bank is potentially looking at a second quarter trading debut.
The three banks raised a combined HKD36.7 billion (US$4.73 billion) last year although investor demand was mainly confined to Chinese investors and was fairly muted from global accounts.
One of the main concerns surrounding the initial public offerings (IPOs) of Chinese banks is that the China Securities Regulatory Commission does not allow banks to sell H-shares at below book value as reported in their latest financial results.
As a result many investors find bank H-shares expensive since a lot of the comps are trading below book value. Chongqing Rural Commercial Bank, for example, was trading at a price-to-book ratio of 0.72 on early Friday afternoon.
Founded in 1997, Harbin Bank has 15 branches in China and recorded revenues of Rmb7.64 billion (US$1.25 billion) for the year ended December 31, 2012. The company had assets worth Rmb270 billion, while its capital adequacy ratio was 13.13%.
ABC International, Bank of China International and CICC has been mandated as the IPO’s sponsors, with other banks expected to join at a later stage.