China Bohai’s HK IPO biggest so far in 2020  

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Hong Kong

Paul Hastings and Commerce & Finance Law Offices acted on behalf of China Bohai Bank in its US$1.78 billion global offering and listing of its H shares on the main board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. With shares priced at HK$4.80, it is Hong Kong’s largest IPO so far this year.

CCB International Capital, Haitong International Capital, ABCI Capital and CLSA Capital Markets acted as the joint sponsors for the listing, represented by Clifford Chance and Haiwen & Partners.

Established in 2005 in Tianjin, Bohai Bank is the youngest nationwide joint-stock commercial bank in China. It was the first PRC bank to be publicly listed in 2020, and the deal is the biggest listing by a Chinese bank on the Hong Kong bourse in the past five years.

Paul Hastings’ team on the transaction was led by Raymond Li, global partner and chair of Greater China, corporate partners Neil Torpey, Vincent Wang and Fan Chaobo, with support from associate Kelvin Chu, legal managers Penny Chen, Du Jing and Nicole Xu, and paralegal Jennifer Yao.

Wang, a corporate partner in the IPO practice, told Asia Business Law Journal: “In the past decades, there have been more and more Chinese banks getting listed in Hong Kong to access international capital, and we expect such a trend to continue with support from the resilience of the Chinese economy, as well as the development of global economic co-operations.”

Paul Hastings has been particularly active in serving Chinese financial institutions, including city commercial banks, acting in IPOs for Jinshang Bank, Luzhou City Commercial Bank, Gansu Bank, Zhongyuan Bank, Jiangxi Bank, Bank of Tianjin, and now Bohai Bank.

“Even as China’s GDP growth rates moderate to reflect the much larger size of the country’s economy, commerce continues to develop at a very rapid pace, and growing companies need access to capital and sophisticated capital markets,” said Torpey.

“As a result, we expect the HKEx to continue to be a very active and attractive venue for IPOs and capital raising for companies from China and other countries around the world. Also, because China has already made significant progress in getting past the worst of the pandemic and getting its economy back on track, it seems likely that Chinese companies will be well positioned to move forward with their business plans, including IPOs in Hong Kong.

“And the current situation between the US and China is likely to encourage a number of high-profile and high-quality companies to re-orient their listings from US exchanges to the HKEx, so we think the HKEx has a very bright future ahead in the next few years and beyond.”