WASHINGTON (AP) _ The World Bank said Thursday it plans to launch its first global electronic bond offering, a $3 billion issue that will be offered, distributed and traded on-line.

An announcement said the firms of Goldman Sachs & Co. and Lehman Brothers would be the lead managers on the offering. It gave no date for the launch nor how long it would take for the bond to mature.

``We designed this first comprehensive, end-to-end global Internet offering to set a new standard in the market in terms of reach, liquidity and transparency,'' said Afsaneh Mashayekhi Beschloss, the bank's vice president and treasurer.

The World Bank has been issuing debt securities in international capital markets for more than 50 years. These securities have provided funds for financing more than 4,000 development projects worth $300 billion in 130 countries.