China's second-largest commercial bank has asked major international investment banks to compete for mandates to underwrite a proposed multibillion US dollar initial public offering in Hong Kong. Among the investment banks invited by Bank of China (BOC) to pitch for the roles are Goldman Sachs and UBS, which sponsored the US$2.6 billion flotation of the Beijing-based lender's Hong Kong unit, BOC Hong Kong (Holdings), in 2002. The list of banks is also believed to include Deutsche Bank, Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers. 'All major investment banks with the exception of those with obvious conflicts of interest because of their involvement in the IPO of China Construction Bank (CCB) were invited,' a source said. However, Citigroup was left out because its widely reported dropping from CCB's underwriting team might not yet be final, sources said yesterday. The banks have been asked to submit pitch books by June 21. A beauty contest featuring presentations by the investment banks would take place this month or early next month, sources said. However, the share offer, the second by one of the mainland's Big Four state-owned commercial banks, is not expected until some time next year.