August 11, 2016 / 10:40 AM / 3 years ago

ICBC aims for benchmark dollar bond via Dubai by year-end

DUBAI, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) aims to issue a U.S. dollar-denominated, benchmark-sized bond through its Dubai office before the end of the year if market conditions permit, a senior executive at the bank said.

It would be the third bond issue by China’s largest bank by assets via its office in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), reflecting its appetite to expand business in the Middle East and benefit from growing trade and investment ties between China and the Gulf.

“We are looking for the next opportunity to issue in this region,” Zhou Xiaodong, general manager of ICBC’s Dubai branch, said in an interview, adding that the bond would probably come this year, depending on market conditions.

He said the issue would be benchmark-sized, which is understood in the market to mean at least $500 million.

Most proceeds of the issue would be used for business in the region, Zhou said.

ICBC has been an active lender in the Gulf in recent months. It provided a $1.5 billion loan to Saudi Electricity Co in June, the same month it agreed to lend $230 million to Emirates National Oil Co.

Earlier this year, ICBC raised $400 million through a bond issue in Dubai and launched a $500 million five-year bond in Dubai in May 2015 under a euro medium-term note (EMTN) programme totalling $4 billion and operated by ICBC’s DIFC branch. Such notes normally have maturities of five years or less.

Like the previous issues, the bond was likely to be listed on the Nasdaq Dubai exchange, Zhou said. (Edited by Andrew Torchia and Alexander Smith)

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