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Chinese broker Everbright Securities files for Hong Kong offering

[HONG KONG] Everbright Securities Co Ltd, a brokerage controlled by state-owned China Everbright Group Corp Ltd, filed for a Hong Kong share offering, joining a slew of financial services firms raising funds in the city to bolster their balance sheets.

The filing late on Tuesday by Everbright Securities, the 11th-largest brokerage in China by assets, sets the ball rolling for a share sale that Thomson Reuters publication IFR previously reported could raise up to US$2.5 billion in 2016.

The Shanghai-listed company said in the filing revenue soared almost five times in the six months through June 2015 from a year earlier to 12.8 billion yuan ($2 billion), while profit jumped to 4.9 billion yuan from 325 million yuan.

Brokerages have raised US$22.3 billion in share offerings in Hong Kong so far in 2015, accounting for nearly 27 percent of the US$81.4 billion total in the city, Thomson Reuters data showed.

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Everbright Securities would join larger rivals including CITIC Securities, Haitong Securities, Huatai Securities and GF Securities, which tapped equity investors for funds mainly targeted at the profitable business of margin financing that had been booming earlier in 2016 before a clampdown from regulators.

Everbright Securities said it plans to spin off its Hong Kong business on the Hong Kong stock exchange some time after January 2017 to raise funds for expansion and lure more international investors. The Hong Kong business includes Everbright Securities International Ltd and Sun Hung Kai Financial Group Ltd.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch, China Everbright Capital and UBS were hired as joint sponsors of the offering.