China's second-largest shipping company, China Shipping (Group) Co., has sought regulatory permission to list its seven-year-old container arm in Hong Kong in an estimated $2 billion initial public offering.
The Shanghai-based state-run shipping group said it will sell 25 percent of China Shipping Container Lines Co. Ltd. and use the proceeds for acquisitions of ships.
China Shipping's IPO, which could come as early as May, would make the company the first container business listed by a Chinese shipping company. China's shipping industry leader, China Ocean Shipping (Group) Co., controls several listed companies, but none is a container shipper.
China Shipping, with assets of 40 billion renminbi ($4.8 billion), already has a 50 percent owned listed company in Hong Kong, China Shipping Development Co. Ltd., which moves oil tankers and dry bulk. China Shipping owns 91 full container vessels, totaling 110,000 TEUs.