Risks plague Bank of China IPO – Luo Jun and Michele Batchelor

From Bloomberg via the International Herald Tribune (link)

Chris Ruffle, a Shanghai-based fund manager, won’t buy Bank of China shares when the nation’s No. 2 lender goes public this month. As a customer, he’s all too familiar with the bank’s failings.

“I have my Bank of China checkbook in Shanghai, but it’s useless everywhere else,” says Ruffle, 47, who oversees about $1.8 billion of Chinese stocks at Martin Currie Investment Management. “Banks are the weakest part of the Chinese economic system, so buying into them doesn’t make sense to me.”

Bank of China plans to raise $9.9 billion in the world’s biggest initial share sale since 2000, with the stock scheduled to begin trading June 1 in Hong Kong. Ruffle says he won’t invest, even though international companies such as Royal Bank of Scotland, Merrill Lynch and Temasek Holdings have bought stakes in the bank.

Also see “Bank of China a big payday for Goldman, UBS” from Reuters (link)

Goldman Sachs and UBS will split the lion’s share of roughly US$250 million worth of fees for Bank of China’s US$9.8 billion IPO, one of the last big Chinese privatisations in the foreseeable future.

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