Agricultural bank 'all set for reform'

(China Daily)
Updated: 2007-01-22 10:22

The National Financial Work Conference has set the key tone for the long-awaited restructuring of the Agricultural Bank of China (ABC).

The last of China's Big Four commercial banks (also including the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank and Bank of China) to be reformed, the ABC will be restructured and listed as a single companyinstead of being divided into a group of provincial-level banks.

Its restructuring will be pushed forward in a smooth and steady manner, Premier Wen Jiabao said at the conference. 

A worker dismantles the Agricultural Bank of China's booth after a financial exhibition in Shanghai. [China Daily]

It should continue to serve the agricultural sector, rural areas and farmers, based on its capital and network advantages in the counties, Wen said.

It's generally believed that the ABC will follow the restructuring steps of the other three big commercial banks: government capital investment, dealing with non-performing loans, establishing shareholding companies, introducing strategic investors and seeking opportunities for listing.

The bank has been preparing for the restructure and has completed internal and external auditing, set up an accounting supervision and control center, and started the personnel resources reform scheme.

Earlier, the International Finance News reported that the ABC had selected China International Capital Corp and CITIC Securities Co as its financial advisers.

But the bank's restructuring is rather complicated and could take a relatively longer time than the other three to complete because of its large amount of bad loans, thanks to its huge unprofitable lending in the rural sector, experts said.


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