Bank of China (BOC) has hired Goldman Sachs and BOC International as joint sponsors for a $3bn (€2.78bn) listing of its aircraft leasing arm BOC Aviation Hong Kong, according to reports.

Reuters cited people with knowledge of the matter, and said this would be the world’s biggest aircraft leasing IPO.

The proposed future listing on the main board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, was approved by BOC’s shareholders in December at the end of 2015.

Following the proposed future listing, BOC will retain a substantial majority shareholding in BOC Aviation, BOC Aviation will remain a subsidiary of BOC and BOC Aviation will continue to carry the BOC brand name.

BOC Aviation posted a 5% rise in net profit to a record $171m in the first half to June 2015.

BOC Aviation was founded in November 1993 as Singapore Aircraft Leasing Enterprise (SALE). In December 2006 SALE was acquired 100% by Bank of China for an enterprise value of $3.25bn.

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The company has a portfolio of 253 owned and managed aircraft operated by 59 airlines worldwide in 29 countries, with commitments to acquire 203 aircraft, as of 30 September 2015. BOC Aviation is based in Singapore with offices in Dublin, London, Seattle and Tianjin.