NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The Agricultural Bank of China's initial public offering is on its way to becoming the largest IPO ever, surpassing a record set by a peer Chinese bank in 2006. AgBank raised $19.3 billion -- before an overallotment of shares - in a dual listing on Hong Kong and mainland China exchanges. The Hong Kong-listed AgBank shares have priced at HK3.20, and the yuan-denominated shares have priced at 2.68 yuan, or approximately 40 to 41 cents. The anticipated sales of the share overallotment will raise the AgBank IPO proceeds to $22.2 billion. AgBank shares are expected to begin regular trading in mid-July. In 2006, the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China raised $21.9 billion, but it is now expected to fall to second place on the list of all-time IPO fund raisings. Many major Wall Street banks are involved in the Hong Kong listing of AgBank shares.
The AgBank offering was seen as a test of confidence in the Chinese economy at a time of considerable concern about its growth prospects, and in particular, real estate valuations. AgBank has the highest percentage of non-performing loans among Chinese banks, at just under 3% -- though that's nowhere near the 24% of non-performing loans that led to the Chinese government having to bailout AgBank to the tune of $30 billion in 2006. The China-specific IPO story is contending with a big Chinese equities market slump -- down 25% this year -- and fears that China's real estate market is teetering on the verge of implosion, according to many bearish market experts. -- Written by Eric Rosenbaum from New York.