The operator of China’s high-speed rail line between Beijing and Shanghai kicked off its initial public offering, which will for the first time allow investors to buy shares in what is the world’s largest such network.
Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway Co., a unit of state-owned China Railway Corp., plans to sell as many as 6.3 billion new shares, or 12.8% of enlarged capital, through the listing in Shanghai, according to its prospectus released Wednesday. Book building for the IPO will begin Jan. 6, it said. The company didn’t say how much it aimed to raise through the sale.
The listing adds to signs that China is pushing to further open industries dominated by state-owned companies. Beijing on Sunday outlined plans to allow private-sector businesses to enter industries including energy, telecoms and rail, and on Tuesday, Premier Li Keqiang pledged to give foreign investors greater access to service sectors including finance and health care.
Proceeds from Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway’s IPO will be used to help finance the acquisition of a 65.1% stake in a domestic railway operator for 50 billion yuan ($7.1 billion), according to the prospectus. Bloomberg News reported in late 2018 that the company was planning to raise 30 billion yuan. That amount would make it the largest domestic offering since Postal Savings Bank of China Co.’s $4.8 billion listings earlier this month, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
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