Business / Markets

China Everbright prepares for revamp

By Gao Changxin in Shanghai and Jiang Xueqing in Beijing (China Daily) Updated: 2014-08-02 08:11

The government on Friday approved a revamp of the ownership structure of China Everbright Group as the country deepens the reform of State-owned enterprises.

China Everbright Group, with assets totaling $420 billion at the end of last year, is the parent of Hong Kong- and Shanghai-listed China Everbright Bank Co, the country's 11th-largest bank by assets.

It also has units involved in stock brokerage and tourism.

The revamp will transform the group into a joint stock company, a corporate structure that makes it easier to add new investors and is essential to going public.

The Ministry of Finance and Central Huijin Investment Ltd, the government vehicle that holds stakes in State-owned banks, are the only two investors in Everbright Group, which had 37 billion yuan ($6 billion) in pretax profits last year.

The restructure comes after the government promised to let markets play a "decisive role" in the economy. Reform of SOEs is widely considered to be a key part of market-oriented reforms, which the nation has vowed to finish by 2020.

China's 155,000 SOEs, backed by governments at all levels, have combined assets of 104.1 trillion yuan, slightly more than the GDP of the United States in 2013.

Bank of Communications Ltd, the country's fifth-largest lender by assets, said this week that it planned to further diversify its ownership structure, which could mean the introduction of non-State investments.

Earlier this year, the central government considered injecting the entire assets of CITIC Group Corp, the country's first SOE in the investment sector, into its Hong Kong-listed unit.

Li Kai, a banking analyst at China Galaxy Securities Co Ltd, said that the Everbright Group's restructuring is aimed at laying the foundations for the group as a whole to go public.

According to a restructuring plan filed by China Everbright Bank with the Shanghai Stock Exchange, the Ministry of Finance will inject holdings in Everbright Group and the group's Hong Kong subsidiary, as well as its ownership of the group's debts, into the new joint stock company. Meanwhile, Central Huijin will inject the 9 billion shares it holds in China Everbright Bank, its holdings in China Everbright Industrial (Group) Co and the central bank's loans to the group.

The new joint stock company will assume all of Everbright Group's assets, debts and personnel.

Li said the shares of China Everbright Bank will not respond strongly to the restructuring in the short term.

The bank's shares gained 1.53 percent to close at 2.66 yuan in Shanghai on Friday. In Hong Kong, its shares were up 0.56 percent to HK$3.62 (47 cents).

China Everbright prepares for revamp

China Everbright prepares for revamp

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