Bank of Communications, the country's fifth-biggest lender, plans to raise almost US$2.5 billion in a Shanghai initial public offering in the first half of next year, the <i>South China Morning Post</i> reported, citing a person familiar with the deal. The lender, whose Hong Kong public offering in June last year was the first by a mainland bank, mandated Citic Securities, China Galaxy Securities, Haitong Securities and Goldman Sachs Gao Hua Securities last month to underwrite the sale, the source said. Many mainland banks are considering A-share sales next year, the newspaper said. Industrial Bank, a Shanghai-based lender in which Hang Seng Bank has a stake, Citic Bank, and a number of city commercial banks, are among those eyeing sales. China Construction Bank, the country's fourth-largest lender, said in July that it will consider an A-share sale in the future.