HONG KONG–Shipping giant China Cosco Holdings Ltd. (1919.HK) said in a statement Tuesday that it plans to issue US$1 billion worth of 10-year U.S. dollar bonds for the general corporate purposes of its offshore units and affiliates.

Cosco Holdings–the major listed arm of state-controlled China Ocean Shipping (Group) Co.–has agreed to issue the Reg S bonds at an annual interest rate of 4.00% payable semi-annually.

Reg S status means the proposed bond need not be registered with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission and can’t be sold to U.S. investors.

BOC International and HSBC Holdings PLC are joint lead managers for the bond issue, Cosco said.

Word of the planned offering comes after Cosco Holdings said in October that it would seek shareholder approval to raise up to US$2 billion by selling offshore bonds to replenish capital and repay debt.

The company, which is struggling to shore up its finances amid a global shipping downturn, in August posted a first-half net loss of 4.87 billion yuan ($774 million), compared with a net loss of CNY2.76 billion a year earlier and marking its biggest first-half net loss since it listed on the Hong Kong bourse in 2005.

If Cosco Holdings reports a second consecutive annual loss for 2012, after last year’s loss of CNY10.5 billion, it would risk being put on theShanghai Stock Exchange‘s “special treatment” list, which alerts investors to the continued losses of a listed company.

If a company reports a third year of net losses, it would have to be delisted in Shanghai.

- Joanne Chiu, (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company

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