Shenhua Group Corp, China's largest coal producer, said it plans to raise US$1.5 billion on international markets. The group, also a power plant operator, is in talks with investment banks and a decision is expected as early as July. China International Capital Corp and other investment banks are expected to underwrite the deal. Shenhua was formed in a merger between 15 coal firms in 1995 and is responsible for 6.25% of China's coal production. In 2001, Shenhua formed a joint venture with Hong Kong power firm CLP Holdings to strengthen its electricity portfolio as a first step toward listing.