AgBank receives approval for China IPO: sources
BEIJING (Reuters) - Agricultural Bank of China ABC.UL has received regulatory approval for its planned initial public offering in Shanghai, three sources told Reuters on Wednesday, a sign that the mega-sized deal is moving along.
The China Securities Regulatory Commission granted the unconditional approval to AgBank Wednesday morning, said the sources close to the deal, adding that the meeting did not discuss the size of the offering.
The sources declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue.
Beijing-based AgBank was initially expected to raise up to $30 billion in a dual listing, which would be the world's largest, but concerns over the size of the IPO have grown recently.
An executive with the AgBank earlier on Wednesday dismissed as "nonsense" reports that its government shareholders were pushing it to postpone its planned share issue due to weak market conditions.
A Reuters poll of 18 fund managers, strategists and analysts conducted this week suggests AgBank could command a valuation of 1.5 times its book value, meaning the lender could raise close to $20 billion.
The timing of the listing remains unclear.
(Reporting by Shen Yan, Xie Heng and Simon Rabinovitch; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner)
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