UPDATE 1-China Everbright Bank to launch $2.8 bln Hong Kong offer on Tuesday
* Secures $1.74 bln in cornerstone pledges
* Listing in Hong Kong at third attempt
* Hong Kong's biggest offering since Sinopec's $3.1 bln in February
HONG KONG, Dec 9 (Reuters) - China Everbright Bank Co Ltd will be the third mainland lender in three months to raise funds in Hong Kong by launching an up to $2.8 billion share sale on Tuesday.
The bank and peers Huishang Bank Corp Ltd and Bank of Chongqing are building capital buffers in anticipation of a rise in bad loans as growth of the world's second-biggest economy slows.
They have turned to Hong Kong in search of a wider pool of international investors but the shadow of bad loans has made many wary. In response, the banks have signed up so-called cornerstone investors who buy significant portions of the offered shares which they agree to hold for at least six months.
The banking unit of state-backed China Everbright Group is attempting to raise capital in Hong Kong for the third time after market conditions led it to abandon efforts last year and the year before.
China's 11th biggest bank by market capitalisation said on Monday it will offer 5.1 billion shares from Tuesday at an indicative price of HK$3.83 to HK$4.27 each, to yield up to HK$21.8 billion ($2.81 billion). The offer will be priced on Friday, with trading to start on Dec. 20.
The offering would be Hong Kong's biggest since China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec) , Asia's largest refiner, raised $3.1 billion in February.
The price range values the Shanghai-listed bank at a 2013 full-year forecast price-to-book ratio of 0.9 to 1.0 times, Thomson Reuters publication IFR previously reported.
China Everbright Bank received commitments worth $1.74 billion from 19 cornerstone investors including China Shipping (Group) Co and Prudential Financial Inc, according to its prospectus released on Monday.
It hired China Everbright Securities, China International Capital Corp (CICC), Morgan Stanley and UBS AG to coordinate the offering.
The share sale would come soon after Huishang Bank and Bank of Chongqing raised a combined $1.92 billion. Huishang closed on Monday at HK$3.54 compared with a listing price of HK$3.53, and Bank of Chongqing ended at HK$5.82 from HK$6.00.
Other Chinese banks including Bank of Shanghai and China Guangfa Bank plan to list in Hong Kong within the next 12 months.
Chinese banks' bad loans climbed 24.1 billion yuan ($3.96 billion) in July-September to 563 billion yuan - the steepest quarterly rise since 2005.
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