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China securities firm Shenwan Hongyuan launches HK listing of up to $1.25 bln

By Julia Fioretti

HONG KONG, April 11 (Reuters) - Chinese securities company Shenwan Hongyuan Group Co Ltd launched on Thursday a Hong Kong listing that could fetch up to $1.25 billion in what would be the largest float in Asia so far this year.

Shenwan Hongyuan is selling 2.5 billion shares, representing 10 percent of its enlarged capital, at a price between HK$3.63 ($0.4629) and HK$3.93 ($0.5011), a term sheet seen by Reuters showed, meaning the deal could raise between $1.157 billion and $1.253 billion.

There is a greenshoe, or over-allotment option, of up to 15 percent, bringing the total amount the listing could raise to $1.441 billion.

Shenwan Hongyuan's float will surpass the initial public offering (IPO) of Embassy Office Parks Real Estate Investment Trust in India which fetched $687 million, making it the largest in the region, Refinitiv data showed.

At the higher end of the price range it could also be the world's third-largest stock market float in 2019, behind only ride-hailing company Lyft's $2.5 billion IPO in New York and Network International Holdings' $1.42 billion IPO in London, the data showed.

Shenwan Hongyuan did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

Hong Kong had a stellar 2018 in terms of stock market listings, with companies raising $36.3 billion in the city, the most of any stock exchange globally.

This year, however, is expected to be slower as the stream of companies in China looking to go public thins out.

Companies have raised $2.9 billion in initial public offerings in Hong Kong so far this year, compared to the $6.4 billion raised on the Nasdaq in New York, Refinitiv data showed.

Shenwan Hongyuan secured 13 cornerstone investors for its listing, who together committed to buy about $829 million, the term sheet showed.

Cornerstones include ICBC Asset Management Scheme Nominee, Huaxia Life Insurance, China Life Insurance Company, China Reinsurance Corporation and New China Life Insurance .

Shenwan Hongyuan, listed in Shenzhen, plans to use the proceeds to develop the enterprise finance business to satisfy the financing needs of M&A clients and provide one-stop investment banking service solutions for enterprise clients, as well as to develop the personal finance business for wealth management needs, according to its draft prospectus.

The deal will price on April 18 and shares will begin trading on April 26.

ABC International, Goldman Sachs, ICBC and Shenwan Hongyuan are joint sponsors for the float, according to the prospectus. ($1 = 7.8425 Hong Kong dollars) (Reporting by Julia Fioretti; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)