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World's biggest IPO nets US$7.3b

The company that built the "Water Cube" swimming center for the Beijing Olympics said yesterday that it raised US$7.3 billion in the world's biggest initial public offering this year, highlighting a revival in China's financial market.

China State Construction Engineering Corp sold 12 billion shares on Thursday at 4.18 yuan (61 US cents) each, the company said in a statement released through the Shanghai Stock Exchange yesterday. Trading starts next Wednesday.

Regulators clearing State Construction to go ahead with such a huge offering suggested they believe China's markets have regained their strength after a plunge last year prompted a ban on new offerings.

China's benchmark Shanghai Composite Index is up 85 percent this year amid a massive government stimulus spending and was the world's best performer for the first half this year.

State Construction is the world's biggest IPO since March last year and boosts Shanghai into first place among global exchanges in IPO deal value this year, according to financial information firm Dealogic. This year's previous record holder was Visanet do Brasil, which raised US$4.3 billion last month in Sao Paulo.

Regulators halted new IPOs in September after the key Shanghai index plunged more than 65 percent from its October 2007 peak. Investors worried that new IPOs would flood the market and further depress prices.

The moratorium was lifted last month after a surge in stock prices.


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