The initial public offering of BoC Hong Kong (Holdings), which aims to raise up to HK$25 billion, has been oversubscribed four days before its closing date, according to underwriting sources. The institutional tranche, which at present accounts for 90 per cent of the share offer, was 'comfortably' over full subscription by last night, the sources said. More than 25 local and regional corporations had committed to buy shares in BoC Hong Kong - the listing vehicle of Bank of China (Hong Kong), the SAR's second-largest bank - taking up more than one-third of the institutional share offer open to international investors, the sources said. 'Pretty much the majority of Hong Kong's big-name property companies and large corporations have subscribed,' a senior banker at one of the lead underwriters said. 'But we don't expect the bulk of the big orders to come in until Wednesday and Thursday as the larger the fund management companies, the later they will place their orders as they will have to go through more internal meetings to come up with a decision.' BoC Hong Kong has just completed its roadshow in Europe to drum up investor interest in the offering, after doing presentations to Asia-based investment managers. Some asset management firms might place multiple orders through their Asian, European and North American fund managers, the underwriting sources said. But it was too early to tell where the final price would be set within the indicative range of HK$6.93 to HK$9.50. 'This is because the bulk of the demand is not yet in, we have to see the price sensitivity of all the orders before we can price the deal,' one source said. Red chip Shanghai Industrial Holdings yesterday confirmed its intention to join the fray, with a company spokesman saying its subscription was to support BoC Hong Kong, one of its principal banks. '[The subscription] will be part of our investment portfolio. After all there is no reason to put all your cash in the bank,' he said. The retail offer, which began yesterday, had seen a 'very keen' response judging from the amount of subscription forms returned, bankers said. Thousands of retail investors flocked to Bank of China, HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank and Bank of East Asia branches yesterday to pick up copies of the initial public offering (IPO) application form and prospectus. Some eager investors began lining up at Bank of China's North Point branch as early as 7.30am yesterday, 90 minutes before the doors opened, according to Bank of China's North Point branch manager. 'I want to subscribe because Bank of China is rather big. It's not the biggest bank in Hong Kong, but it's still pretty big. Also, it's one of the three note-issuing banks in Hong Kong,' said Fanny Fong, an office worker in Quarry Bay who was planning to subscribe for 1,000 to 1,500 shares. Investors are hoping that BoC Hong Kong's massive size will equate to a stable investment. 'It's a big bank so it should be pretty stable. I don't think the share price will fall too much,' student Kelly Hung said. Given the level of support from Hong Kong's blue-chip institutions, many retail investors are expecting a successful IPO for the company. However, they do not expect the share price to soar, especially in light of recent stock market conditions. 'I think the share price will go up, but it won't go up that much. Maybe a couple of dollars,' said Betty Wong, who plans to buy 1,000 shares. 'After it rises a couple of dollars, I'll sell it.' However, not all the retail investors were looking to make a quick buck. 'Another thing is that we hope the Bank of China will become one of the Hang Seng Index's 33 constituent stocks, so we've decided to invest,' Mrs Fong said.