Shenzhen Expressway (SZE) will be one of the first issuers in China to use the National Development and Reform Commission's newly implemented system to register plans to sell offshore bonds. The new system will potentially make it easier for Chinese companies to raise offshore funds for onshore projects, and allow them to provide stronger guarantees to foreign bondholders. The toll road operator, which already met investors in Hong Kong, Singapore and London at the beginning of this month, may receive approval to issue US dollar bonds as early as this Friday, according to a source familiar with the discussions. The offering is unlikely to hit the market this month, said the source. SZE's offering was delayed after the NDRC published a new policy on offshore debt issuance on September 16. The policy does away with the need for Chinese foreign debt issuers to go through an approval process each time they issue bonds offshore. In a bid to simplify the process, the regulator says potential issuers need only apply in advance via its new registration system. More importantly, the new rules allow Chinese companies to repatriate the offshore proceeds to China, something largely restricted in the past. Chinese issuers will also find it easier to provide direct guarantees on their offshore bonds. This diminishes the need to depend on keep-well agreements, which usually lowers the rating on these bonds, according to a September 18 Moody's report. The NDRC's move to expedite the approval process is aimed at facilitating China's growing infrastructure needs, which will likely prompt a rise in offshore issuance to fund projects like the Silk Road and Yangtze River belt. BOC International and Daiwa are joint bookrunners on Shenzhen Expressway, which is rated Baa2/BBB/BBB.