Chapter of accidents with a happy ending
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Chapter of accidents with a happy ending

Turning 13 disparate institutions into an investor-friendly flotation as Bank of China Hong Kong was never going to be easy. But then came NPLs, scandals, fear of guilt by association with Andersen and crashing markets.

Successful listing: BoC Hong Kong had a
great deal to celebrate

Bleary-eyed after the 13-hour flight from Singapore, Tracy Wolstencroft, Goldman Sachs's head of investment banking for the Americas, is queuing at passport control in Heathrow Airport. His mobile phone is clamped to his ear as he listens to his colleagues in Hong Kong giving him the previous day's figures for the Dow. It's July 11, 6am on the fourth day of a gruelling 11-day, 11-country, 16-city IPO roadshow for Bank of China Hong Kong.

The news is desperate. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has plummeted 283 points, more than 3%. Other bankers are on their phones too. One later admits: "I think it was beginning to cross people's minds that we were going to have to postpone the deal."

Another banker says: "Fund managers were getting their legs blown off and I was beginning to feel that we might not be able to get the deal done in the style that we wanted."

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