Herbies lands IPO for major HK bank

Herbert Smith’s Hong Kong office has scooped an instruction to act for China Construction Bank in what could be the largest initial public offering (IPO) seen in the global equities market this year.

Herbert Smith beat several firms, understood to include all those in the magic circle, to win the lucrative mandate to advise China Construction Bank on the Hong Kong law aspects of the IPO, which could be worth as much as HK$39bn (£2.65bn).

It is understood that the Hong Kong office of Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom has been appointed to advise China Construction Bank on the US law aspects of the deal.

Meanwhile, a number of firms are now scrambling to secure mandates to advise the underwriters, China International Capital Corporation and Citigroup.

China Construction Bank is the latest in a string of Chinese companies to go public. Earlier in the month China Life, the country’s largest insurer, raised HK$26bn (£1.77bn) in a global offering. Meanwhile, last November PICC, China’s largest property insurer, raised HK$6.2bn (£421.7m).

It is understood that China Construction Bank will complete the listing either by the end of the year or in early 2005. It remains unclear whether the bank will also list in New York.

State-owned China Construction Bank is the country’s third-largest lender.