China Railway Corp approved for 150 bln yuan in bond issuance this year - sources

BEIJING/SHANGHAI, April 1 Tue Apr 1, 2014 4:25am EDT

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BEIJING/SHANGHAI, April 1 (Reuters) - China Railway Corp has received approval for a quota to issue 150 billion yuan ($24 billion) worth of corporate bonds in 2014, the same amount as last year, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday.

"The quotas for railway bond issuance will remain unchanged for the third year, with the first batch likely to open tender on April 10," said one source, who asked for anonymity because the quota is not yet public.

Another source said China Railway planned to issue an initial tranche of 20 billion yuan around April 10, with a tenor of 10 years.

The railway bond quota was set at 100 billion yuan in 2011 and was raised to 150 billion yuan in 2012, remaining unchanged in 2013.

China Railway Corp was created after the Ministry of Railways was dissolved in March 2013 following a series of corruption scandals. The regulatory functions of the ministry were merged into the Ministry of Transport, China Railway Corp was entrusted with building and operating the rail system.

Analysts have also expressed concern about China Railway's heavy debt burden. The company had 893.6 billion yuan in bonds outstanding as of March 18, when it sold debt for the first time in 2014.

($1 = 6.2 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Kang Xize, Cai Weihao and Gabriel Wildau; Writing by Lu Jianxin; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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