China's Minsheng Bank has been given initial approval to sell US$701 million in subordinated bonds, designed to improve its capital base ahead of an overseas IPO in early 2005. Minsheng, China's first private bank, is planning to raise about US$1 billion in the offering next year. The sale, approved by the China Securities Regulatory Commission still needs to be given final approval by the People's Bank of China. The news came amid reports that Singapore government-owned Temasek Holdings had agreed to buy a 4.55% stake in the bank from China National Coal Group, a state-owned shareholder. Minsheng was founded in 1996 by Liu Yonghao, a pig-feed tycoon. Earlier this year Minsheng reported a 72% increase in first-half profit to US$133 million.